Former Portsmouth and Southampton midfielder Jhon Viafara jailed for 11 years for trafficking two tonnes of cocaine worth £21m for bloodthirsty cartel

Former Pompey midfielder Jhon Viafara has been sentenced to an 11-year prison sentence after being found guilty of trafficking two tonnes of cocaine worth a staggering £21m into the United States.

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th April 2021, 1:33 pm

The Colombian midfielder who made 15 appearances for the Blues between 2005 and 2006 was handed the term by a federal court in Texas on Wednesday, after being extradited in January.

Viafara was arrested in March 2019 after crashing a car while drink-driving and speeding in Cali, south Colombia, before being held as part of an operation involving the US Drug Enforcement Agency and local Colombian authorities.

Prosecutors said Viafara conspired with the murderous Clan del Golfo cartel to send cocaine shipments from Colombia to Mexico via speedboat, with the ultimate destination for the drugs being the United States.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

After his arrest the Colombian national police stated Viafara’s role was was to co-ordinate the movement of cocaine across the route via airplanes, speedboats and semi-submersibles. Furthermore, they stated Viafara oversaw payment to gang members and watchmen along the route and met with key Sinaloa cartel bosses.

The bloodthirsty Sinaloa cartel is the world’s largest trafficking organisation led by the sadistic and ruthless Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, who is said to be responsible for more than 100,000 deaths in Mexico’s drug wars.

Acting US attorney, Nicholas Ganjei said: 'The defendant in this case had it all, worldwide fame, wealth, and stature - despite all of this, he chose to use his talents to advance the evil of the drug trade,' said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei.

Jhon Viafara has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for trafficking cocaine (Photo credit should read DIANA SANCHEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

'Traffickers should take note, no matter who you are; no matter where in the world you live; the United States will prosecute you if you join in a conspiracy to send drugs to our country.'

Viafara was backed to be a huge hit in the Premier League by chairman Milan Mandaric, who said: ‘I believe Jhon Viafara will be a superstar in the Premiership.’

The midfielder spent six unspectacular months at Fratton Park, however, before being sold to south coast rivals Southampton for £750,000 after a loan spell with Spanish outfit Real Sociedad.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Jhon Viafara has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for trafficking cocaine. Picture: Matt Scott-Joynt.

The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.

You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.