Rafa Marquez Sanctioned By US Government For Alleged Ties To Drug Traffickers

US sanctions 22 Mexican individuals, 43 entities tied to drug gang

Former Barcelona player Rafael Marquez and singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo were among almost two dozen people accused of helping alleged drug leader Raul Flores Hernandez, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Mexican Attorney General's Office also seized related assets, including the Grand Casino near Guadalajara, according to the Treasury statement. Flores is allegedly allies with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels, the Times reported.

Mr. Márquez was among the individuals the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control linked to Raúl Flores Hernández and his organization, which the agency identified as significant foreign narcotics traffickers.

The U.S. statement did not say whether Marquez or any of the others sanctioned face charges in the United States, but the ruling reportedly means that any assets they possess under USA jurisdiction will be frozen.

Today's OFAC designations also include Mexican professional soccer player, Rafael Marquez Alvarez (Rafa Marquez), and Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo (Julion Alvarez).

As a result of the treasury department's ruling, reports the BBC, the assets of Marquez and his co-accused, who also include popular singer Julio Cesar Alvarez, that are "under U.S. jurisdiction or controlled by people in the United States would be frozen".




A former chief of global operations for the DEA, Mike Vigil, told the Associated Press that "it would be hard to imagine Marquez didn't know who he was dealing with because Flores Hernandez has been around for so long".

The 38-year-old, who now plays for Mexican side Atlas in Guadalajara, missed training on Wednesday after being sanctioned and gave a statement to the Mexican attorney general's office. Indictments against Flores Hernandez came in March, and since then the investigation has been trying to turn up his associates.

For much of that period, Marquez was the only Mexican playing in Europe's top leagues, and he was also the captain of the Mexican team in four World Cups from 2002 to 2014.

Marquez debuted in Mexico's top-flight league in 1996 with Atlas and moved to AS Monaco of France's Ligue 1 three years later. He has played in four FIFA World Cups and is vying to become just the third player to play in five.

A former FC Barcelona star has been accused of being a "front person" for a Mexican drug cartel. In 2011, Marquez turned heads when he bought a $6 million apartment in New York City.

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