Mexico extradites to U.S. drug trafficker who worked for rival cartels

Mexico extradites drug kingpin, 68, to the US after he worked ‘laundering money for El Chapo for decades’

  • Raúl Flores was extradited on drug trafficking charges to the United States, Mexico’s Attorney General announced Sunday
  • Flores had been in custody of Mexican judicial system since his arrest in July 2017 
  • Local outlets report that Flores had ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Gulf Cartel, among other drug trafficking networks
  • He reportedly trafficked cocaine for Mexican cartel from 1980 to March 2017 
  • Mexican news outlet Milenio reported that Flores reportedly had laundered money for three cartels in Mexico
  • Mexican star soccer Rafael Marquéz and singer Julion Álvarez were linked to Flores as part of U.S. Treasury Department investigation in 2017 

Mexico has extradited a drug trafficker who worked with El Chapo for decades to the United States.

Raúl Flores was turned over to federal American agents at Toluca International Airport, Mexico, almost four years following his arrest.

Flores, who is known as ‘El Tio’ or ‘The Uncle,’ entered the drugs trade in 1980. 

The 68-year-old reportedly maintained close ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, formerly lead by Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, and the Gulf Cartel, among other rival criminal organizations in Mexico.

He helped launder money for the Sinaloa and Jalisco factions, along with the Beltrán-Leyva Organization.

Flores’ drugs ring was even tied to celebrities such as Mexican singer, Julion Álvarez, and Rafael Marquéz , the former captain of Mexico’s national soccer team. 

Raúl Flores was extradited to the United States, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announced Sunday. Flores reportedly trafficked cocaine and laundered money for multiple rival drug cartels during his 37 years in the drug trafficking business. He allegedly kept close ties to Colombian producers of cocaine and owned several trafficking routes between Mexico and the United States. 

It all came crashing down for him in March 2017 as Mexican authorities were in the final stages of an 11-year investigation into his dealings, according to court records obtained by Mexican news outlet Milenio.

He was arrested in July 2017 by Mexican security forces in Zapopan, a city in the western Mexico state of Jalisco. However, his apprehension was kept a secret by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office for almost a month before the United States sanctioned him under the Kingpin Act.

In August 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned then-Mexican national soccer team captain, Rafael Marquéz, and 21 other individuals and 43 entities for being tied to Flores.

The Treasury Department said Marquéz, a former defender for Barcelona, had a ‘longstanding relationship’ with Flores and had acted as a ‘front person’ for him and held assets on his cartel’s behalf. 

Marquéz immediately denied the allegations, but Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], then said that it was impossible for the soccer star not to have known who Flores was because he had been around the drug trafficking business for a long time. 

Rafael Marquéz , the former captain of Mexico’s national soccer team, was among 22 individuals and 43 entities sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in August 2017 for allegedly acting as a “front man” Raúl Flores, a Mexican drug trafficker who had ties to the multiple rival cartels. The picture here shows him during the 2017 Confederations Cup semifinal match against Germany in Sochi

Julion Álvarez, pictured during his performance at the 2012 Billboard Mexican Music Awards at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, was among 22 people who in August 2017 were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged ties to Raúl Flores, a drug trafficker

Raúl Flores kept a low profile, trafficking cocaine for the Sinaloa Cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and other rival criminal organizations in Mexico

‘He is extraordinarily crafty in the way he strategizes and the way that he navigates between cartels,’ Vigil said of Flores. 

Mexican singer, Julion Álvarez, was also among those who were sanctioned under the Kingpin Act – which freezes all U.S. assets of the people and entities named and forbid U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

Julion Álvarez claimed his only rapport with Flores came from the encounters they had at a venue he had been hired to perform.

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