US sanctions Mexican individuals, entities for ties to drug kingpin

World Today

The captain of Mexico’s national football team is accused of being linked to a vast criminal network connected to drug cartels.

He is only one of the Mexican individuals and entities sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged links to drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez.

CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

Follow Daniel Ryntjes on Twitter @danielryntjes

At a press conference, he said, “Just as I have faced my career as a professional, today is my most difficult match. I will try to clarify all this as much as possible, and be the Rafa Marquez that everyone knows.”

The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned 20 other Mexicans — including a singer, Julion Alvarez, who also denies the allegations — and 42 entities in total.

They are all accused of being connected to alleged kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez, who’s currently detained in Mexico.

He’s facing extradition to the United States where he’s been charged with drugs trafficking and money laundering for the two most powerful drug cartels, which are at war with each other.

J. Jesus Esquivel, an expert on cartels, believes that the effects of sanctioning Hernandez will be limited.

“His network is going to be killed or destroyed,” Esquivel said, “but not the business of the Sinaloa and the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels. Like him, there are several brokers helping them in the money laundry (sic) structure.”

The Trump administration is looking at ways to address a recent rise in drug addiction in America, while also seeking to intensify regional cooperation with Central and South America.

“We stand with you in your commitment to rout out crime and corruption,” said Pence during a speech at the Northern Triangle Conference in June. “We stand with you in your commitment to stop the scourge of drug trafficking once and for all.”

Earlier this month, a group of activists in the city of Baltimore declared a 72-hour ceasefire for drugs gangs which lasted just 40 hours.

It’s just one indication of the challenges for the Trump administration as it tries to tackle both the worsening epidemic of drug addiction and the sophisticated drug cartels profiting from this insatiable demand.