Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

U.S. sanctions 22 over drug cartel, including Mexican soccer star

U.S. sanctions 22 over drug cartel, including Mexican soccer star

The 38-year-old Marquez now serves as captain of both the Mexican national team, as well as Atlas, a club located in Guadalajara, Mexico. OFAC targeted 22 Mexican nationals in total, as well as 42 businesses, for "providing support" to Flores and his organization's drug trafficking activities, according to a press release.

According to a U.S. treasury department statement, the 38-year-old Marquez and the other 21 people named in the list have a "longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez. acted as front persons for him and his DTO [drug-trafficking organisation] and held assets on their behalf". However, it was during a seven-year stint with Barcelona that Marquez made his biggest impact, winning four league titles and two Champions League winners medals in this time.

Flores Hernandez allegedly operated independently in the northern city of Guadalajara but maintained alliances with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels. He still occasionally captains the Mexican national team, having represented his country in four World Cup soccer tournaments.

Marquez's agent Enrique Nieto and Atlas declined to comment when contacted by FOX News' Samuel Chamberlain and Reuters, respectively.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the designation was "the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel network that OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control) has designated", and comes after U.S. President Donald Trump promised to crush Mexico's drug cartels.

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But what could come to define his time on the bike for some was the stripping of a his 2010 Tour de France title in 2012. Another victory in the Tour de France and Giro from the Spaniard seized as the result of a doping scandal .

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

He has scored 13 goals in 158 worldwide appearances between 1997 and 2017.

Several news outlets reported that I am part of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged ties to criminal organization. Among the entities that the department cited were his soccer academy and health and rehabilitation clinics. He also has sponsorships with American companies that he will now lose.

Vigil said cartel figures have always been drawn to soccer stars and musicians. "Who else do they like?"

Under terms of the sanction announced on Thursday (AEST), any assets Marquez has that are under USA jurisdiction are frozen and "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with him.

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