Legendary Mexican football player Rafael Marquez has categorically denied any connection to a drug trafficking organization after being sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday.
Marquez, 38, and a well-known band leader are among 22 people sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury as a result of a multiyear investigation of the drug trafficking organization allegedly headed by Raul Flores Hernandez.
In a statement, the US treasury department said the organisations and individuals highlighted had “longstanding relationships with Flores Hernández… acted as front persons for him and his DTO [drug-trafficking organisation] and held assets on their behalf”.
The statement said the ruling meant that any assets of theirs under US jurisdiction or controlled by people in the US would be frozen.
Mr Álvarez rejected the claims against him and also defended Mr Marquez.
“He’s got one of the longest careers in football,” he said in a post on Facebook. “Do you really think he would need to do something like this?”
Mr Márquez, 38, has represented Mexico in four World Cups and won more than 140 international caps in two decades with the national side.
Having played for European club sides Monaco and Barcelona, where he won the Spanish league four times and the Champions League twice, the defender returned to Mexico in 2015 to rejoin his first club Atlas, where he remains captain.
It will also sanction 43 entities in Mexico, including a football team and casino.
It is the single largest such designation of a drug trafficking organization ever by its Office of Foreign Assets Control, the statement said.
Marquez, 38, is a former defender for Barcelona, Monaco and the New York Red Bulls who currently plays for the Mexican football club Atlas in Guadalajara and was a long-serving captain of the Mexican national team.
He did not practice with Atlas on Wednesday.
Culled from ESPN