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November 04, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Former Brazil striker Adriano was charged by Rio de Janeiro prosecutors on Tuesday for his alleged connection with drug trafficking.

Prosecutors claim the striker bought a motorcycle and gave it as a gift to a known drug dealer in the shantytown where he grew up.

It will be up to a judge whether to accept the charges.

Adriano could face up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

It is not the first time he has been investigated for his alleged ties to drug trafficking in Rio, but he had never previously been charged. Several years ago, prosecutors had requested a probe into Adriano's purchase of the motorcycle, which allegedly was registered in the name of the drug dealer's mother and was used for drug trafficking.

Prosecutors on Tuesday did not request Adriano's arrest but asked for him to surrender his passport, claiming the player has enough money to try to flee the country if wanted.

Adriano and his lawyers could not be immediately contacted for comment.

The 32-year-old forward reportedly has been negotiating with second-division French club Le Havre to return to football after several months without a club. He traveled to France recently to meet with club officials, and French media reported that a deal was close.

Adriano played a few games with Brazilian club Atletico Paranaense earlier this year after being out of action for nearly two years because of injuries and off-field problems.

He began his career with Flamengo and played for Inter Milan and AS Roma, among other clubs. He won four Serie A titles with Inter Milan early in his career, and with Brazil he won the 2004 Copa America and the 2005 Confederations Cup.

He was in the starting lineup for Brazil at the 2006 World Cup, when the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Adriano was touted to make the team in 2010 in South Africa after leading Flamengo to the national title a year earlier, but was not included in the final squad. His last match with Brazil was in 2010.

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