Mexico captain Rafael Márquez, sanctioned over alleged ties to drug

The Mexico football captain Rafael Márquez is among 22 individuals sanctioned for alleged ties to a drug trafficking organization, the Treasury of the United States, announced on Wednesday.

The Treasury said in a statement that also the sanction of the 43 entities in Mexico, including a football team and the casino. The sanctions are the result of a multi-year investigation of the drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Raul Flores Hernandez.

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It is the largest single such designation of a drug trafficking organization from his Office of Foreign Assets Control, the statement said.

Marquez, a former Barcelona and New York Red Bulls defender who currently plays for the Mexican soccer club Atlas of Guadalajara and is the captain of the Mexican national team. Messages left for Marquez’s agent Enrique Nieto seeking comment were not immediately answered.

Flores Hernandez would have operated independently in the north of the city of Guadalajara, but maintained alliances with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.

The Mexican Attorney General’s Office has seized all related activities, including the Grand Casino near Guadalajara, according to the situation of the Treasury.

“Raul Flores Hernandez has worked for decades, because of its long-standing relationships with other drug cartels and their use of the financial front of people to conceal its investment of illegal drug proceeds, OFAC director John Smith said in the statement.

Federal drug trafficking indictments against Flores Hernandez were returned in March to Washington, and the southern district of California.

The government referred to Marquez and norteno singer Julio Cesar Alvarez, better known as Julion Alvarez, as well as people with long-standing relationships with Flores Hernandez, “they have acted like in front of people for him and his [drug trafficking organization] and goods on their behalf.”

The sanctions freeze all the assets of the persons and entities named, and to forbid US citizens to do business with them.