Bogota, Jan 24 (IANS) Former Colombia international midfielder Jhon Viafara has been extradited to the US to answer drug trafficking charges, authorities have said.
The 41-year-old is accused by prosecutors in Texas of being a part of a criminal network that shipped cocaine to Central America and onward to the US via the Pacific Ocean, reports Xinhua news agency.
He and four others were arrested near the southwestern Colombian city of Cali in March last year. Viafara, who says he is innocent, was allegedly responsible for paying boat operators and ensuring that drug cargoes reached their destination, according to investigators.
Colombian police confirmed the extradition in a statement accompanied by images of Viafara boarding a jet at Bogota’s El Dorado international airport.
Viafara was capped 34 times for Colombia between 2003 and 2010. He retired in 2015 after a career that included spells with Portsmouth, Southampton and Real Sociedad.
In 2004, he was named the best player in South America by regional football confederation CONMEBOL after helping Colombia’s Once Caldas win the Copa Libertadores.