Trafficker used Maradona portraits to hide cocaine: police

Turkish police seized 2.5 kilograms of cocaine at Istanbul airport nested in portraits of world soccer great Diego Armando Maradona who had struggled with cocaine addiction for years before passing away in late November, Turkey’s Directorate of Customs said in a written statement on Wednesday (December 23).

It said a 72-year old drug trafficker, a German national of Croatian origin, was arrested at the airport after busting plates of cocaine with a street value of 2 million Turkish liras ($250,000).

One of the most gifted soccer players in history, Maradona’s pinnacle of glory came when he captained Argentina to win the World Cup in 1986 before plunging to misery when he was kicked out the 1994 World Cup for doping.

Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated a stellar career and altered his appearance from the lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.

The world soccer star died on November 25, less than a month after his 60th birthday.