Marquez accused of drug trafficking ties

2017 Southern California Images in the News

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The US Treasury Department announced on Wednesday that it has slapped sanctions on Mexican drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez and his network.

The Mexican Attorney General's Office also seized related assets Wednesday, including the Grand Casino near Guadalajara, according to the US statement. Flores Hernandez has worked independently in Guadalajara while painting relationships Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.

The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act passed in 1999 grants the department the power to freeze the assets of foreign nationals believed to be involved in worldwide drug trafficking. The sanctions will block access to any assets held in the USA and block US citizens from doing business with the named subjects.

In what amounts to the single largest investigation of a drag-trafficking organisation ever carried out by this Office of Foreign Assets Control, sanctions on as many as 43 different entities are underway, including a casino and an entire football team.

Marquez is said to have acted as a front person for the organization, and to have held assets on its behalf.

Later in the day, Marquez denied having any links to drug traffickers. The sanctions are tied to a multi-year investigation into kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez's drug operation.

Marquez, 38, is the long-time captain of Mexico's national team and now plays for Atlas in his homeland.

Marquez gave a statement to Mexican authorities on Wednesday and denied the charges in a press conference on Wednesday night.

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.

A former FC Barcelona star has been accused of being a "front person" for a Mexican drug cartel. Marquez, 38, is a longtime captain of Mexico's national soccer team and is viewed as one of the greatest defensive players in the country's history. He played three seasons in MLS for the New York Red Bulls.

Rafael Marquez was one of 21 people and 42 organisations singled out by the United States treasury department for sanctions.

The Treasury also cited a soccer academy and health and rehabilitation clinics owned by Marquez as having ties to the drug-trafficking organization.

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