AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN/AP) - The Central Texas horse trainer charged with laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel will be in court Friday afternoon.
Authorities arrested Eusevio Huitron, of Austin, on Tuesday as part of a federal indictment into alleged quarter-horse racing operations with links to the notorious Zetas drug cartel.
The indictment alleges Huitron trained horses for the cartel and used a real estate business to launder drug profits.
The indictment said the organization generated millions of dollars and that proceeds were used to buy, train, breed and race American quarter-horses.
KXAN News went by Huitron's house in East Austin and talked to his wife Tuesday evening. She claims that her husband trained horses but she didn't know why he was arrested. Huitron's wife said she hasn't heard from him since officials whisked him away Tuesday morning.
According to federal records, authorities also confiscated property in Bastrop County. This property was used by Huitron as a horse training facility. When KXAN News visited the location in Dale, Texas, there were several horses still on the property, as well as horse equipment.
Authorities were also working on confiscating numerous quarter horses, one of which was "Tempting Dash."
Huitron trained this particular horse and the horse ended up winning the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas, in October 2009.
Meanwhile, his older brother said that he's being falsely accused. Jesus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Huitron has been a horse trainer since 1994 and has nothing to do with "drugs, or cartels, or any of this foolishness."
He said he's hiring an attorney for his brother, who will be back in court Friday.
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 the famed Ruidoso Downs track in New Mexico.
"This case is a prime example of the ability of Mexican drug cartels to establish footholds in legitimate U.S. industries and highlights the serious threat money laundering causes to our financial system," said Richard Weber, the chief of the IRS' criminal investigation unit.
Seven of the 14 people indicted were arrested, including Jose Trevino Morales and his wife, Zulema. Another Trevino brother was also charged.
Prosecutors asked that no bond be set for Trevino fearing he would either flee or intimidate witnesses. He declined to comment at the courthouse.
The indictment describes how the Trevino brothers and a network quietly arranged to purchase quarter horses with drug money at auction and disguise the source of the funds used to buy them so that the Zetas' involvement would be masked. They would often pay in cash, or use fake names, which helped keep the owners and the money a secret.
Since 2008, the operation racked up millions of dollars in transactions in New Mexico, Oklahoma, California and Texas, prosecutors said.
The operation, Tremor Enterprises LLC, started small, but worked in plain sight. Some horses carried names with drug references, like Coronita Cartel. Over time, the horses and the operation earned a place on some of the most elite stages in the industry. One horse named Mr. Piloto won a $1 million prize at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day; another named Tempting Dash won the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The New York Times first reported the raids and the alleged connection to the Zetas cartel on its website earlier Tuesday, citing a months-long investigation and several anonymous sources.
The Zetas are one of Mexico's two most powerful drug cartels, with a reputation for being its most ruthless and willing to commit atrocities. The cartel was blamed for the 2010 massacre of 72 Central American migrants in the Texasborder state of Tamaulipas, the dumping of 49 mutilated bodies on a Texas-bound highway in the state of Nuevo Leon, and a series of smaller group killings. The cartel is also accused of funneling millions of dollars to politicians and law-enforcement officials in Tamaulipas in a case currently under investigation by federal authorities in the U.S.
During the raids Tuesday, dozens of federal agents swarmed the New Mexico race track, wearing bulletproof vests and collecting evidence. At least two horses were taken away. The federal government seeks the seizure of several horses, claiming they were used to further a crime. Among those sought was Mr. Piloto.
A raid also was conducted at the ranch about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City. At least a half-dozen agents wearing fatigues and baseball caps emblazoned with FBI were still at the ranch early in the afternoon.
The director of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association
said Jose Trevino showed up a few years ago and quickly earned a reputation for always paying his bills and shelling out handsome prices for some of the top horses in the country.
Shaun Hubbard, general manager of the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino, said the track officials know little about the raid but they are cooperating with federal authorities.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Accumulating snow is expected to impact all of Rhode Island and Massachusetts between 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday. Read Blog >>
The Providence Police are holding an annual toy gifting this Sunday -- and the event is set to begin as a significant storm is set to start wrapping up.
Several new Rhode Island State Police troopers took the oath of office Friday afternoon in a ceremony at Rhode Island College.
While there's a WaterFire set for Saturday, the severe winter weather expected this weekend is prompting organizers to warn event-goers the event could be canceled.
38 Studios auction failed to produce any “acceptable offers” for their marquee video game.