A soccer player and captain of the Mexican national team is one of 22 Mexican nationals targeted for sanctions by the Treasury Department for alleged connections to the Flores Drug Trafficking Organization, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said on Wednesday.
Rafael Marquez Alvarez, the Mexican national team's captain and soccer player for the Mexican soccer club Atlas, and a norteno musician named Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, known as Julion Alvarez, were two of the 22 Mexican nationals targeted for alleged ties to the drug trafficking organization.
The sanctions target Raul Flores Hernandez and the drug trafficking association he reportedly leads, as well as associates with connections to the organization.
According to the Treasury Department, this is the biggest single action taken under the Kingpin Act, which designates people and entities as narcotics traffickers.
"Raul 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," said OFAC Director John E. Smith in a statement.
"This major joint action reflects the U.S. government's close cooperation with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to stop the illegal flow of narcotics and to target and expose drug kingpins and those who facilitate their illicit financial networks."
Most of those targeted with sanctions are family members and associates of Hernandez. Marquez and Alvarez were named as having "longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and have acted as front persons for him and his DTO and have held assets on their behalf."
The U.S. assets of those targeted with sanctions are frozen and U.S. citizens "are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the Treasury Department said.