Mexican Soccer Team Banned for Drug Ties

Third-division team kicked out of the league for alleged connections to drug traffickers.

The Mexican Soccer Federation has expelled a third-division soccer team for alleged ties to drug traffickers. The federation's national council met late Tuesday night and expelled the Mapaches (Raccoons) of Nueva Italia and their president Fidel Ortega Vargas, two weeks after seven team officials were detained by federal authorities. The officials were detained at a training facility for Mexico City's America team after a match against another squad. Authorities say America is not involved in the case. "We held a meeting to interview the team management but they did not attend, arguing that they were fearing an unjustified detention by the federal authorities," the federation said in a press release. "Even though we called them several times, they declined to show up and therefore we decided to expel them". The detained team officials included reported owner Wenceslao Alvarez, who is considered one of the main operators of "La Familia", a drug-dealing group in the western state of Michoacan, where the Raccoons play. Besides Ortega Vargas, the federation expelled all of the team's front office members: Salomon Luna Comino, Fernando Barriga Romero, Norasto Barrera Ortega y Miriam del Carmen Zamora Cabrera. The Raccoons will disappear from the standings and all of their records will be deleted.

Copyright Associated Press.

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