Former Ecuadorian football referee Byron Moreno arrested for drug smuggling

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moreno was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Byron Moreno, a former Ecuadorian football referee who officiated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, has been arrested for suspected drug smuggling. Moreno was arrested at John F. Kennedy International airport after he arrived on a flight from Ecuador.

During a routine check, security found 10 clear bags containing nearly 10 pounds of heroin. The drugs had been strapped to his body and concealed in his underwear. In a complaint filed in a Brooklyn federal court it said that during the inspection Moreno "became visibly nervous." It also said "A customs agent felt hard objects on the defendant's stomach, back and both of his legs. A strip search revealed that the lumps were 10 clear plastic bags containing more than 10 pounds of heroin".

A judge jailed Moreno without bail on charges of drug smuggling.

Moreno is most well remembered after he refereed the World Cup second round match between Italy and host's South Korea. Moreno had disallowed a valid Italian goal and sent off Italian striker Francesco Totti for apparent diving. He also failed to call any attention to any of the South Korean's foul play. Moreno resigned from refereeing in 2003.