Last updateFri, 13 Jul 2018 7am

US names soccer star as drug lord’s ‘front man’

pg1bRafael Marquez,  the captain of both the Atlas soccer club in Guadalajara and the national team, has been sensationally accused of acting as a front man for a Mexican drug trafficker and placed on a U.S. Treasury blacklist.

Marquez’s name features on a list of 21 Mexican citizens and 42 businesses and organizations that allegedly helped launder the profits and hide the assets of drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez.

Also included in the list is famed norteño singer, Julion Alvarez, who in 2015 was described by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as “a great example to Mexican youth.”

In March, Flores Hernandez, 65, was charged in absentia in federal courts in California and the District of Columbia with drug trafficking and money laundering.

Mexican federal police arrested Flores Hernandez on July 20 at an unknown address in Zapopan.  An extradition request from the United States is pending.

Although not considered one of this country’s most high-profile drug barons, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Flores Hernandez (known here as “El Tio”) has managed to operate “under the surface” since the 1980s by maintaining his “independence” and laundering money for different drug cartels, including rivals involved in turf battles.

“Flores Hernandez has operated for decades because of his longstanding relationships with other drug cartels and his use of financial front persons to mask his investments of illegal drug proceeds,” John Smith, OFAC director, said in a press release.

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