"I categorically deny any type of relation with this organization."
Mexican soccer superstar Rafa Marquez has denied any ties to alleged drug trafficker, Raul Flores Hernández, after being sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday.
According to ESPN the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the 38-year old soccer legend and 21 others as a result of a multiyear investigation of the drug trafficking organization headed by Raul Flores Hernandez. 43 entities in Mexico, including a football team and casino, will also be sanctioned according to the report.
The U.S. government referred to Marquez and 34-year-old "norteno" singer Julio Cesar Alvarez as people who have had longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and who "have acted as front persons for him and his [drug trafficking organization] and held assets on their behalf."
Marquez, however, has categorically denied any type of relationship with the drug cartel.
Speaking at a news conference last night, Marquez said, per ESPN,
"Today several news outlets reported that I am part of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged ties to criminal organization. I categorically deny any type of relation with this organization and with what has been stated in several news reports.
"I reiterate that I have never participated in any of these organizations that have been mentioned in these reports, and want to reiterate my duty to assist the various authorities and corresponding governments in a punctual manner and maintain the media informed.
Marquez has represented Mexico in four World Cups, and played for Monaco and Barcelona, where he won the Spanish league four times and the Champions League twice. He also played in the MLS for the New York Red Bulls before ultimately returning to Mexico in 2015 to rejoin his first club Atlas, where he is still a captain on the squad.
OFAC Kingpin action targets 22 Mexican Nationals & 43 entities—the largest Kingpin designation against a Mexican drug network pic.twitter.com/RaGfecYahf— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) August 9, 2017