The U.S. Department of Treasury on Wednesday announced that it has sanctioned legendary Mexican international defender Rafa Marquez and 21 others for alleged ties to drug trafficking.
The former Barcelona footballer is being accused of having links to a major drug trafficker – is a “front person” for a major drug-trafficking cartel – as part of an action hitting 22 Mexican nationals with sanctions that freeze their assets in the U.S.
The Treasury said in a statement that it will also sanction 43 entities in Mexico, including a football club and casino.
The sanctions are the result of a multi-year investigation of the drug trafficking organization allegedly headed by Raul Flores Hernandez.
Marquez and the others are all accused of having ties with alleged drug trafficker Raul Flores Hernandez.
Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez is also on the list.
Both he and Rafa Marquez are accused, in a US treasury department statement, of having “longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez… acted as front persons for him and his DTO [drug-trafficking organisation] and held assets on their behalf”.
It is the single largest such designation of a drug trafficking organization ever by its Office of Foreign Assets Control, the statement said.
The former Barcelona and New York Red Bulls star who currently plays for the Mexican club Atlas in Guadalajara is captain of the Mexican national team.
The statement said the ruling meant that any assets of theirs under US jurisdiction or controlled by people in the US would be frozen.