Mexico soccer star Rafa Marquez sanctioned for ties to drug trafficking

Rafael Marquez Alvarez, known to the soccer world as Rafa Marquez, stands among 22 people being sanctioned for alleged ties to a drug trafficking organization, per the United States Treasury Department, according to the Associated Press.

In addition to the 22 people, 43 entities -- including a soccer team -- will be sanctioned. The trafficking organization was originally headed by a Raul Flores Hernandez, and this is the culmination of a multi-year investigation into the organization.

Marquez, who currently plays for Liga MX club Atlas and has played for Barcelona as well as several clubs in Mexico and for the New York Red Bulls in MLS, was cited as having a long-time relationship with Flores Hernandez. He had allegedly acted as a "front person for [Flores Hernandez] and his (drug trafficking organization) and held assets on their behalf." 

The sanctions themselves will freeze any U.S. assets that those sanctioned hold, and it disallows United States citizens from doing business with them. Indictments against Flores Hernandez came in March, and since then the investigation has been trying to turn up his associates.

In the Treasury's statement, they said that this is the largest designation of an organization that's drug trafficking from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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