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NEWCASTLE United hero Tino Asprilla today blasted claims he was linked to a plot to flood Tyneside with Colombian cocaine.

The former Toon striker pledged to appear before a judge in Newcastle to prove his innocence if need be.

Tino was dragged into drugs conspiracy allegations when close friend Osmiro Colonia Mendez stood trial accused of forging links between Tyneside dealers and South American Mr Bigs

Colonia was cleared but restaurateur Franco Pizzuti, who told an undercover police officer Tino was involved in the supply of drugs, was jailed.

Speaking from Colombia Tino said: "I have never been involved in anything like that. I went to Newcastle to play football and so I did. I am offering to go there to court if necessary to clear my name.

"Maybe they think by mentioning me, they would lower their jail time.''
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 22, 2007
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