Mexico captain Rafael Marquez sanctioned for alleged drug trafficking ties

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Mexico captain Rafael Marquez has been sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for his alleged support of a drug trafficking organisation.

Authorities say the organisation was led by Raul Flores Hernandez, with former Barcelona star Marquez among 22 people identified as someone "upon whom he [Hernandez] heavily relies to further his drug trafficking and money laundering activities".

The treasury added via a statement that a soccer team and a casino are among 43 other entities that will be sanctioned.

The release singled out Marquez and popular musician Julion Alvarez for their involvement with the operation, stating: "Both men have longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and have acted as front persons for him and his DTO and held assets on their behalf."

Under terms of the sanction announced on Wednesday, any assets Marquez has that are under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions" with him.

Marquez, 38, is the long-time captain of Mexico's national team and currently plays for Atlas in his homeland. 

He spent four years at Monaco between 1999 and 2003, where he won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue, before moving to Barca where he added to his haul with four LaLiga titles and two Champions League medals.

A stint in MLS with New York Red Bulls followed, before he turned to play for Leon in 2013.