Colombian Ex-footballer Arrested for Drug Trafficking for the Third Time

Former footballer Diego Leon Osorio, who played for Colombia’s national team in the 1990s, has been arrested for drug trafficking for the third time, police said on Friday.

The former left-back was attempting to board a flight to Madrid, Spain, on April 8, from an airport near Medellin “with 1,849 grams of cocaine hydrochloride,” police said in a message sent to the media.

Airport authorities discovered the drugs in four pairs of sneakers before making the arrest.

But police did not announce the arrest until Friday, when a video was leaked to the press showing Osorio, who won league titles with Colombian side Atletico Nacional, in handcuffs next to a uniformed officer.

The 52-year-old was previously arrested in 2002 while transporting cocaine in Miami but was released on bail.

In 2016, he was arrested again in Medellin and later sentenced to house arrest.

Osorio played for Colombia’s national team in the 1990s alongside the legendary Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama and goalkeeper Rene Higuita.

At club level, he excelled at Atletico Nacional, winning two Colombian leagues and the Merconorte Cup in 1998.

Soccer and drugs have been intertwined for the past four decades in Colombia, the world’s leading producer of the white powder, with several players arrested for links to trafficking.

Anthony de Avila, Colombian club America de Cali’s all-time leading scorer, was detained in September 2021 for links to the mafia in Naples, Italy.

Another Colombian international Jhon Viafara, a midfielder in the Once Caldas team that won the Copa Libertadores in 2004, was extradited to the United States for collaborating in a drug shipment to that country.

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