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Rafa Marquez denies involvement in drug trafficking

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Reuters

Marquez, 38, is the long-time captain of Mexico's national team and now plays for Atlas in his homeland. Marquez and Alvarez were identified as being "front persons" for Flores' illegal funds, the Telegraph reported. The sanctions are tied to a multi-year investigation into kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez's drug operation.

Marquez is hoping to play in his fifth World Cup for El Tri.

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 Treasury also designated 42 Mexican entities as providing support for Flores Hernandez's organization, including a soccer team, Club Deportivo Morumbi. He 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.

On August 9, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that following an investigation spanning several years, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was targeting Raúl Flores Hernández and the Flores Drug Trafficking Organization.

The Mexican FA and Marquez's club Atlas have yet to comment.

Federal drug trafficking indictments against Flores Hernandez were returned in March in Washington and the southern district of California. He has been a member of the Mexican national team since 1997 and has made 143 career appearances, adding 19 goals.

A stint in MLS with New York Red Bulls followed, before he turned to play for Leon in 2013.

Marquez's soccer academy and health and rehabilitation clinics were among the sanctioned organizations, according to Reuters. He also has sponsorships with American companies that he will now lose. The musician said he did not need to join the drug trade because he "earned" his money.

All of the sanctioned individuals and entities' assets subject to USA jurisdiction will be frozen and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from doing business with them.

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