Russian freed from prison allowed to stay in Chile to play pro soccer

A Russian man who served three years in a Chilean prison for drug trafficking is being allowed to remain in the country to play professional soccer.

Twenty-five-year-old Maxim Molokoedov finished his prison term Friday. He has been training with the Santiago Morning club in Chile's second-tier league since last season under a special permit.

During a ceremony at the National Stadium, Justice Minister Juan Ignacio Pina said that an order to expel Molokoedov from Chile has been revoked.

Molokoedov was arrested in 2010 carrying about 13 pounds (6 kilograms) of cocaine that he planned to smuggle to Europe inside children's books.

Molokoedov says he regrets that is now "very happy and thankful" to those who are giving him a second shot at life through soccer.