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Former International Soccer Star Sentenced For Drug Crimes In East Texas

Jhon Eduis Viafara Mina

A Colombian soccer star was sentenced to federal prison today for drug trafficking crimes in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.

Jhon Eduis Viafara Mina, 42, a native of Robles, Colombia, pleaded guilty on Nov. 23, 2020, to conspiracy to import five kilograms or more of cocaine into the United States and was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant.  Viafara Mina, an international soccer star, previously played for the Colombian National Team and Once Caldas football club, as well for the English football clubs Portsmouth and Southampton, among many others.

“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.  “The Eastern District of Texas will identify drug trafficking operations and dismantle them at their source, stopping deadly drugs before they reach our shores.  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.”

According to information presented in court, in August 2017, DEA Dallas Field Division Group 3, in conjunction with the DEA Bogota Country Office, the DEA San Jose Country Office, and the Panama City Country Office began an investigation into a cocaine drug trafficking organization operating out of Colombia, which included Jhon Eduis Viafara Mina, also known as “Futbolista,” “Goleador,” and “Makelele.”  Viafara was involved in the logistical preparations of dispatching large cocaine shipments by aircraft or boat from Colombia to Mexico via Central America for subsequent distribution within the United States.  Based on this conduct, Viafara was indicted by a grand jury based on June 13, 2018.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Bloss.