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Ex-ref pleads not guilty to drug charges

  • AP, Wednesday, October 20, 2010 1:10 PM

Former World Cup referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador has pleaded not guilty to heroin-smuggling charges.

Moreno was arrested in September at Kennedy Airport with bags of heroin attached to his body. He had previously been famous for controversial decisions in a 2002 second-round match in which host South Korea eliminated Italy.

FIFA, has said Moreno's arrest appears to be "completely unrelated" to the sport. At the time of his arrest, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon quipped, "I think Moreno already had the (heroin) in 2002, but not in his underwear, in his body. Joking aside, when sports people get involved in drug cases it means they're scraping the bottom of the barrel."

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