OKLAHOMA CITY -- A federal grand jury indicted the second in command of the Zetas cartel and two of his brothers for a scheme that funneled millions of dollars of drug money into racing American quarter horses.
The indictment charges 14 people with money laundering, including Miguel Trevino Morales, one of the most wanted and ruthless drug traffickers in the world.
Seven of those named in the indictment are under arrest including Morales' older brother Jose Trevino, a Texas resident who allegedly ran the horse racing operation that included a sprawling Oklahoma ranch and 300 horses.
Federal agents raided the ranch in Oklahoma, stables in New Mexico, and properties in Texas.
The New York Times detailed the activities of Tremor Enterprises used by the Trevino brothers to buy, breed, and race American quarter horses.
Since entering the racing world in 2009, Tremor Enterprises’ horses won three major races including the 2010 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of the winning horse, “Mr. Piloto,” as well as “Tempting Dash,” winner of the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie in 2009.
“The allegations in this indictment, if proven, would document yet another example of the corrupting influence of Mexican drug cartels within the United States, facilitated by the enormous profits generated by the illicit drug trade,” said United States Attorney Robert Pitman in a statement issued by the Western District of Texas .
“The rumor has been going on for a few years now, ” said Rigoberto Gonzalez,a barn Manager at a horse training center in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
Several of the horses in the barn run at Ruidoso Downs, the same track where the Zetas’ second in command Miguel Trevino and two of his brothers raced their horses. .
According to the indictment, the money laundering operation stretched from New Mexico to Oklahoma to Texas. A search warrant for a property owned by Jose Trevino and his wife Zulema Trevino in Balch Springs listed a check for $70,000 to buy a horse named “Number One Cartel. “
While it may seem brazen, some in the horse world say the link between acing and organized crime was an open secret.
“I’m surprised it hadn’t come out sooner,” said Gonzalez.