Thursday, May 09, 2013

Racetrack owner guilty of laundering cartel drug money

Four businessmen — one of them the brother of two top leaders of Mexico’s Zetas cartel — have been convicted of money laundering conspiracy charges in an operation devised by the vicious criminal organization to wash millions of dollars through the U.S. quarter horse industry. Jesus Huitron, an Austin homebuilder, was found not guilty in the the case, which implicated nearly 20 people, more than a dozen of whom were arrested in a series of federal sweeps last summer at homes and ranches in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California. Friends and family members of the defendants wept and embraced as the verdict was read in a crowded Austin federal courtroom, where the trial played out over four weeks. José Treviño Morales, owner of the prominent Tremor Enterprises Lexington, Okla., and the other men found guilty could receive sentences of up to 20 years in prison. In closing arguments, prosecutors said the Zetas poured the earnings of their illicit dealings into front companies similar to Tremor, which bought, bred, trained and raced horses. The horses were raced at least twice in competitions that several former drug traffickers said had been fixed. The studs and mares were bought by straw purchasers and placed under the names of other people to disguise their ownership, witnesses have said...more

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