Feds: Horse Operation Was Front for Cartel Cash

Jun 12, 2012

UPDATE 6/12 10:30 PM:

The general manager of the Ruidoso Downs race track says officials know little about a federal raid Tuesday on the prominent New Mexico quarter horse track and an Oklahoma ranch.

Federal agents allege the brother of a high-ranking official in a Mexican drug cartel used a horse-breeding operation to launder money.

Ruidoso Downs general manager Shaun Hubbard says track officials are cooperating with authorities.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday accused Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a key figure in the Zetas drug operation, of setting up a horse operation that a younger brother operated from a ranch near Lexington, Okla., south of Oklahoma City.

Millions of dollars went through the operation, which bought, trained, bred and raced quarter horses throughout the southwest United States, including Ruidoso Downs.

Seven of the 14 people indicted were arrested, including Jose Trevino Morales and his wife, Zulema. Another Trevino brother was also charged.

6/12 5:00 PM:

Authorities say a ranch in Oklahoma and a race track in New Mexico have been raided by federal authorities.

Ruidoso Downs, N.M., Police Chief Doug Babcock said that agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the New Mexico track Tuesday morning to serve an arrest warrant. He did not know who was arrested. Officials also confirmed a ranch raid in Oklahoma but would not discuss details.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said agents served an arrest warrant in New Mexico but wouldn't talk specifics.

The New York Times reports that the raid involved Tremor Enterprises, a horse breeding operation run by the younger brother of a high-ranking official in Mexico's Zetas drug trafficking organization. The newspaper says Tremor was used to launder millions in drug money.