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Mexican judge unfreezes assets of Mexican soccer star Rafael “Rafa” Marquez linked to drug kingpin

October 1, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican judge unfreezes assets of Mexican soccer star Rafael “Rafa” Marquez linked to drug kingpin

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A judge in Mexico has ordered that bank accounts of Mexican soccer star Rafael”Rafa” Marquez be unfrozen after they were suspended in August as part of a U.S. government crackdown on a top drug trafficker.

The bank accounts were those of Rafael “Rafa” Marquez, whom U.S. officials have linked to drug trafficker Raul Flores Hernandez along with Mexican Norteno singer Julión Álvarez.

However, Marquez refused to admit that he had any connection to Flores Hernandez or any other cartel members.

Marquez was a player of the New York Red Bulls from 2010 to 2012 and has played in Mexico, and for European clubs such as FC Barcelona.

Luz Maria Ortega, a federal judge in Mexico, ordered the provisional order to unfreeze the soccer player’s bank accounts, Fox News reported.

The document did not identify Ortega to protect the judge from retaliation, but her name was ultimately published by local media.

The judge did not indicate why the accounts of Rafael”Rafa” Marquez should be unfrozen, discussing only that the court order applies to two accounts – a third account is still under review.

Marquez had his bank accounts frozen in August after the U.S. government sanctioned him – together with over 20 other Mexican citizens – for purported links to Flores Hernandez.

U.S. officials added that Marquez had a longstanding relationship with the trafficker, acting “as [a] front [person] for him and his [drug trafficking organization] and held assets.”

The push to sanction the Mexican citizens comes after President Donald Trump pledges to crush Mexico’s drug cartels.

The U.S. Treasury Department praised the designation last month as “the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel that OFAC (the Office of Foreign Assets Control) has designated.”

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