A well-known one-time World Cup soccer referee pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to attempting to bring 6 kilograms of heroin into the United States through Kennedy Airport in September.
Ecuadorean referee Byron Moreno Ruales, 41, was known in international soccer circles for his no-nonsense approach. He is remembered for a series of controversial calls that paved the way for South Korea's victory over Italy in a 2002 World Cup match.
He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years, and federal guidelines call for a sentence of 51 to 63 months in prison, prosecutors said.
No date for sentencing has been set.