Mexico soccer star Rafa Marquez sanctioned for ties to drug trafficking

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

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

The U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions Wednesday against 43 entities and 22 people for alleged drug trafficking ties - including Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez Alvarez and folk singer Julio Cesar Alvarez.

While the Treasury's statement did not say Marquez will face any charges in the USA, the ruling states all of Marquez's assets under US jurisdiction or in control of people in the USA will be frozen.

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.

Marquez returned to Atlas in December 2015 after brief stops with Leon and Hellas Verona. Associates of Flores Hernandez designated today include Fernando Gustavo Alvarez Peralta, Diego Ayala Romero, Linda Elizabeth Campos Tirado, Efrain and Omar Caro Urias, Hugo Ivan and Victor Manuel Carranza Zepeda, Jose Antonio Cordero Cardenas, and Mario Alberto Fernandez Santana.

Flores Hernandez allegedly operated independently in the northern city of Guadalajara - where Marquez's current club is located - but maintained alliances with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.

The Mexican federal prosecutor's office also seized Flores Hernandez's assets throughout the country on Wednesday, including the Grand Casino in the Guadalajara area, Treasury said.

The Mexican Attorney General's Office also seized related assets Wednesday, including the Grand Casino near Guadalajara, according to the US statement.

Trump defends national security adviser, says McMaster is 'pro
President Donald Trump makes the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. McMaster has fired or reassigned a number of NSC staffers in recent months.

The Mexico global made a voluntary declaration before the Mexican attorney general's office on Wednesday, and has since spoken about the allegations.

Mike Vigil, former chief of worldwide operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and author of the book "Deal", said the 64-year old Flores Hernandez has been in the business since the 1980s.

Mr Vigil said: "His forte has been navigating between cartels".

Defending himself he added: "Everything I have, I've earned. I will try to clear this up when I can and be the Rafa Marquez everyone knows". The sanctions are the result of a multi-year investigation of the drug trafficking organization allegedly headed by Raul Flores Hernandez.

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 USA jurisdiction or controlled by people in the United States would be frozen".

A spokesman from the president's office declined to comment on why the photo was deleted.

Alvarez refuted the allegations in a video posted on Facebook, saying "absolutely nothing happened".

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