Márquez has been named as one of 21 people and 42 organisations from several walks of life suspected of having links with the cartel that is allegedly headed by Raul Flores Hernandez following an multi-year investigation. The entities include restaurants, bars, tourism, music production, the Grand Casino in Guadalajara, the Mexican Football club, and Club Deportivo Morumbi.
Hernandez has operated for decades due to his longstanding relationships with other drug cartels and his use of financial front persons to mask his investments of illegal drug proceeds, Smith noted.
"This action marks the largest single Kingpin Act action against a Mexican drug cartel network that OFAC has designated", the Treasury said. The sanctions will block access to any assets held in the USA and block US citizens from doing business with the named subjects.
Mexican singer Julio Cesar Alvarez is also on the list.
Marquez denied any involvement with Flores Hernandez.
He also spent part of two seasons with Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls and now plays for Mexican club Atlas.
Marquez has a longstanding relationship with Flores Hernandez, and has acted as a front person for him and his DTO and held assets on their behalf.Indictments against Flores Hernandez came in March, and since then the investigation has been trying to turn up his associates.
The US statement did not say that Marquez faces charges in the United States. At Barcelona, where he spent 10 years, he won the Spanish league four times and the Champions League twice, returning to Mexico in 2015 to rejoin his first club Atlas. In 2011, Marquez turned heads when he bought a $6 million apartment in New York City. Marquez, 38, is a longtime captain of Mexico's national soccer team and is viewed as one of the greatest defensive players in the country's history.
Marquez's soccer academy and health and rehabilitation clinics were among the sanctioned organizations, according to Reuters.