10 ways soccer and organized crime mix in Latin America

Soccer has long been a unifying force in Latin America. But 'the beautiful game' has attracted some of the most infamous drug kingpins in the region, something that's corrupted players, officials, and even whole clubs.

By , InSight Crime

2. Owners become narcos: Mexico's alias 'El Futbolista'

In January 2014 Mexican authorities arrested Tirso Martinez Sanchez, alias "El Futbolista," or "The Soccer Player."

During his criminal career Martinez was the owner of the Queretaro professional soccer club, and is suspected of controlling two others, the Irapuato and Celaya clubs, through third parties at various points.

At the same time, he was rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names of Mexico's cartels, including the Juarez Cartel's Amado Carrillo Fuentes, alias "Lord of the Skies," and Arturo Beltran Leyva of the Beltran Leyva Organization. In addition to being the head of a major drug trafficking organization wanted for sending over 70 tons of Colombian cocaine across the border between 2000 and 2003, Sanchez is believed to have benefited from a money laundering scheme involving the transfer of players, in partnership with other wealthy businessmen, through a company known as "Promotora Internacional Fut Soccer."

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