A Mexican football star and a norteño band leader were sanctioned Wednesday (9 August) by the US Treasury Department for alleged ties to a drug trafficker.
Former Barcelona player Rafael Marquez and singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo were among nearly two dozen people accused of helping alleged drug leader Raul Flores Hernandez, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The 38-year-old football legend is the only player in football history to captain a national team at four different World Cups. After scoring the decisive goal in Mexico's 2-1 victory over the US in November, calls poured in for Marquez to lead the squad in next year's World Cup.
Alvarez, who goes by the stage name Julion Alvarez is a Latin Grammy-nominated singer known for filling up Mexican stadiums.
On Wednesday (9 August) the Treasury announced both men were part of a list of Flores' family, business associates and companies being used to launder drug trafficking profits.
The Treasury said he was part of a list of Flores' family, business associates and companies being used to launder drug trafficking profits. Marquez and Alvarez were identified as being "front persons" for Flores' illegal funds, the Telegraph reported.
The two men are accused of holding assets for Flores, who Treasury officials say has smuggled drugs and laundered money since the 1980s. Flores is allegedly allies with the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels, the Times reported.
The Treasury also announced it has frozen all US assets belonging to Flores, Marquez, Alvarez and all others with alleged ties to Flores. The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act passed in 1999 grants the department the power to freeze the assets of foreign nationals believed to be involved in international drug trafficking.
Marquez has not publicly commented on the sanctions, but gave a statement to the Mexican attorney general's office on Wednesday. Mexican officials are cooperating with US authorities, the Times reported.
Alvarez refuted the allegations in a video posted on Facebook, saying "absolutely nothing happened". The musician said he did not need to join the drug trade because he "earned" his money.