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Mexican Soccer And Music Stars Linked To Drug Trafficking

MEXICO CITY — Authorities from the U.S. and Mexico are freezing and taking control of assets owned by Raúl Flores Hernández, an alleged drug kingpin.

The sanctions extend to a group of Mexican nationals and enterprises accused of supporting Flores. Two Mexican stars are part of the list: Rafa Marquez, soccer legend and captain for the national team, and Julión Álvarez, ‘banda’ music singer and Latin Grammy-nominee.

The U.S. Department of Treasury marked its largest single "Kingpin Act" action against a Mexican drug cartel with this operation.

Last Monday, Mexico's president Enrique Peña Nieto posted on Instagram a photo of him with Álvarez sightseeing on a raft. The image was quickly deleted, but reappeared on social media, as well as a two-year-old speech from the president praising the singer and calling him “an example.”

Álvarez rejected the accusations against him on Facebook on Wednesday, stating that he might be a victim of “jealousy.” According to some Mexican media outlets, Márquez voluntarily went to testify at the office of the Attorney General in Mexico.

Rodrigo Cervantes was KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City from 2016 to 2021.