Ex-Bundesliga player Marcelo Pletsch imprisoned for drug trafficking
Former Bundesliga defender Marcelo Pletsch has been sentenced to nine years and two months in prison after being arrested with 793kg (1,749 pounds) of marijuana in Brazil, Sport Bild has reported.
Pletsch, who played in Germany for Borussia Monchengladbach and Kaiserslautern between 1999 and 2006, was arrested in November 2015 after military police found marijuana pressed into 854 bars in his truck.
After awaiting trial in custody in Cascavel in southern Brazil, the 40-year-old was found guilty of drug trafficking and has been sentenced to a prison term of nine years and two months by a court in Curitiba, with the judgment upheld on appeal.
Sport Bild said Brazil-born Pletsch, who adopted German citizenship, continues to protest his innocence and is considering a further appeal, but one of his lawyers said in the German publication: "It's highly unlikely that the verdict would change."
The report added that an appeal to a higher court would only allow for the formal aspects of the trial to be reviewed.
Brazilian law stipulates that Pletsch would have to serve at least 40 percent of his sentence -- until June 2019 -- before he would be allowed to transfer to an open prison, where he would have to report to police once a month for a further 30 months.
After his time in Germany, Pletsch played for Panionios, Omonia and Vojvodina in Europe before returning to Brazil in 2011, where he played for minnows Cascavel and told 11freunde he owned a pig farm.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.