WASHINGTON – The US government imposed on Wednesday penalties on 22 Mexican individuals, including drug trafficker Raul Flores Hernandez and soccer player Rafa Marquez, and 42 companies for their involvement in the narcotics trade.
“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 the director of the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), John E. Smith.
Singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, the front man for the Norteño Banda, and Marquez, a former FC Barcelona player who now plays for Mexico’s Atlas, were placed on the list because of their “longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez,” Smith said in a statement.
Alvarez and Marquez “have acted as front persons for Flores Hernandez and his criminal organization” and “held assets on their behalf,” the OFAC chief said.
Flores Hernandez “maintains strategic alliances with the leadership of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion,” the US Treasury Department said.
US authorities worked closely with the Mexican Attorney General’s Office, which seized assets on Wednesday belonging to Flores Hernandez and his drug trafficking organization.
“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,” Smith said.
The US Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, known as the Kingpin Act, prohibits US persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with individuals included on the list and freezes any assets such individuals may have under US jurisdiction.