Former Barca Star Accused Of Drug Cartel Links
Former FC Barcelona Star Accused Of Drug Cartel Links
A former FC Barcelona star has been accused of being a "front person" for a Mexican drug cartel.
According to the BBC News, Mexico's national team captain Rafael Marquez has been sanctioned by the United States for having ties with alleged drug trafficker Raul Flores Hernandez.
Marquez is said to be one of 21 people and 42 organisations that are being sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.
According to a statement from the Treasury Department, Marquez and famous Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez have been accused of having longstanding ties with the cartel, and have allegedly acted as front men in a few deals.
"Longstanding relationship with Flores Hernandez... acted as front persons for him and his DTO (drug trafficking organisation) and held assets on their behalf," the US Treasury Department's statement read.
The Mexico international made a voluntary declaration before the Mexican attorney general's office on Wednesday, and has since spoken about the allegations.
"I understand the legal situation that I find myself in, and I will immediately work on clearing up the facts alongside my team of attorneys," Marquez said, as quoted by ESPN.
"I reiterate that I have never participated in any of these organisations 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.
"I also want to ask for respect for my family and towards my situation, because it is not a normal situation – it is a difficult situation, and I ask for as much respect as possible.
"I also thank those who have sent me messages of support; I know that many people are with me and I will not disappoint them.
"Just as I have approached my professional career, today is my most difficult challenge. I will try to clear this up when I can and be the Rafa Marquez everyone knows."
The 38-year-old has represented Mexico at two FIFA World Cups, and also made over 233 appearances for Barcelona between 2003 and 2010.
Do you think Marquez could really be actively involved in a drug cartel? Have your say in the comments section below.