Witness: Zetas fixed races, owned police

“This case is really pretty simple,” Gardner said. “The Zetas drug cartel makes money by extortion, kidnapping, murder and bribery. They take that money and they send it to the U.S. to buy quarter horses.”

Miguel Treviño Morales’s began his U.S. quarter horse operation after the leader of the Zetas drug cartel successfully fixed a Dallas-area race, a federal prosecutor told jurors here Tuesday.

The money for those horses came from the smuggling operations of the Zetas, which controls territory and law enforcement across Mexico, a former narcotics trafficker testified later.

The cartel had so much influence, Mario Alfonso Cuellar, 46, testified, that when U.S. authorities told their Mexican counterparts that a Dallas drug distributor had turned informant, the Mexican officials turned around and told Treviño.

The Zetas began laundering money through quarter horses in 2008, prosecutors allege. Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Gardner said during his opening arguments in the trial of five men accused of using horses to launder the Zetas money that Treviño’s interest grew in the scheme after he won a $400,000 purse in the Texas race.


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