Say it ain’t so, Rafael Marquez.
The Mexican soccer legend was among 22 people and 42 entities the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Wednesday over their alleged ties to suspected drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez and his drug-trafficking organizations. The sanction freezes their U.S. assets and forbids U.S. citizens from doing business with them.
“Today’s OFAC designations also include Mexican professional soccer player, Rafael Marquez Alvarez (Rafa Marquez), and Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo (Julion Alvarez),” the Treasury Dept. said in a statement. “Both men have longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and have acted as front persons for him and his DTO and held assets on their behalf. ”
Marquez’s soccer academy and health and rehabilitation clinics were among the sanctioned organizations, according to Reuters. The Treasury Dept. didn’t indicate whether Marquez will face charges from a U.S. criminal court.
Marquez, 38, currently plays for Guadalajara-based club Atlas and Mexico’s national team. He has played in four FIFA World Cups and is vying to become just the third player to play in five. Marquez also played in Europe with AS Monaco, FC Barcelona and Hellas Verona, in Mexico with Leon and in Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls.
Marquez’s agent Enrique Nieto and Atlas declined to comment when contacted by FOX News’ Samuel Chamberlain and Reuters, respectively.
The Treasury Dept. acted against Flores under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), and the sanctions represent the largest action taken against a Mexican drug-trafficking organization in the history of the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images