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U.S. sanctions Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez for alleged drug ties

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Mexico news conference - USA 2016 Centennial Copa America - Mexico City, Mexico - 24/05/16. Mexico's defender Rafael Marquez attends a news conference. REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files
FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Mexico news conference - USA 2016 Centennial Copa America - Mexico City, Mexico - 24/05/16. Mexico's defender Rafael Marquez attends a news conference. REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday it had sanctioned Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez for allegedly serving as a front man for a suspected drug trafficker.

Marquez, from the cartel-riddled state of Michoacan, played in Europe for club sides Barcelona and Monaco, and still occasionally captains the national team, having represented his country in four World Cups.

Marquez, along with singer Julio Cesar Alvarez and almost two dozen other Mexican nationals, is accused of financial ties with Raul Flores Hernandez, a suspected drug trafficker with links to the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation gang.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel)

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