Flores, drug lord with a low profile, during his arrest in July. Flores, drug lord with a low profile, during his arrest in July.

‘Least known’ capo was arrested in July

The cartel leader linked to soccer star and singer is in federal custody

It was revealed yesterday that Raúl Flores Hernández, “the least known drug lord” who allegedly has ties with a famous soccer player and banda musician, was arrested last month in Jalisco.

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Flores, also known as “El Tío” (The Uncle), was arrested July 21 in Zapopan, Jalisco. He is believed to have been involved in drug trafficking for over three decades but has maintained a low profile during that time, earning him the description by a United States drug enforcement official as Mexico’s least known cartel boss.

That profile changed yesterday when the United States Treasury Department declared that Flores, soccer star Rafael Márquez, singer Julión Álvarez and 19 others had been designated under the Kingpin Act for involvement in drug trafficking.

Both Márquez and Álvarez were reported to have had a longtime friendship with Flores and are accused of acting as front men for him.

Flores, 64, began operating in 1983 in Mexico City and Guadalajara and in the countries of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador at a time when drug trafficking in Mexico was controlled by the Guadalajara Cartel and its leaders, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, Rafael Caro Quintero and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo.

Those details have been revealed in indictments against Flores for trafficking in cocaine.

The State Department yesterday designated Flores and the “Flores Drug Trafficking Organization” as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers.

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It said Flores operated independently but maintained “strategic alliances” with leaders of the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, and used a large number of family members and trusted associates who trafficked drugs, laundered money and maintained assets on his behalf.

Other Kingpin Act designations yesterday targeted 42 organizations that allegedly supported Flores’ trafficking operations.

Among them were the soccer club Morumbi; the Grand Casino in Guadalajara; two companies that own a number of bars and restaurants in the same city; Prosport & Health Imagen, a sports rehabilitation center; and Noryban Productions, a music production company.

Most are registered in the state of Jalisco.

Flores was arrested in 2013 and imprisoned in the federal penitentiary in Tepic, Nayarit, on charges of organized crime and the use of funds derived from illegal sources but was released in 2015.

Source: Reforma (sp), La Jornada (sp)

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