Mexico soccer star Marquez among 22 sanctioned for drug ties

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The U.S. Treasury announced Wednesday that it was sanctioning Rafa Marquez, along with 20 other people, for providing support to a Mexican drug trafficking organization with ties to a pair of major cartels. Some of the entities sanctioned include the football club Club Deportivo Morumbi, a sports rehabilitation center, a music production company and Camelias Bar and Nocturnum Inc, which run bars and restaurants in Guadalajara. Flores is allegedly allies with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels, the Times reported.

"In coordination with US and Mexican law enforcement actions, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Mexican national Raul Flores Hernandez and the Flores Drug Trafficking Organization (Flores DTO) as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act)", the release stated. The result of the sanction had frozen all assets of the individuals, entities have been frozen, and no US persons may conduct business with them.

According to a statement from the Treasury Department, Marquez and famous Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez have been accused of having longstanding ties with the cartel, and have allegedly acted as front men in a few deals.

Mexico national soccer team captain Rafael Marquez has been accused by the United States authorities of being a "front person" for a drug trafficking cartel. In March 2017, federal drug trafficking indictments were returned in the District of Columbia and the Southern District of California against Flores Hernandez.

Later in the day, Marquez denied having any links to drug traffickers. In Mexico he is revered as one of the country's all-time greats, though many US fans remember him for a studs-up, head-butt foul on Cobi Jones that earned him a red card at the 2002 World Cup.

He spent four years at Monaco between 1999 and 2003, where he won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue, before moving to Barca where he added to his haul with four LaLiga titles and two Champions League medals. He has played in four FIFA World Cups and is vying to become just the third player to play in five.

Marquez, 38, is a former star defender for Spanish giants FC Barcelona.

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