Feds: Horse operation was a front for cartel cash

June 13, 2012 4:00:10 AM PDT
The indictment of the brother of a high-ranking Mexican drug cartel official in a major money laundering case is prompting a travel advisory for Americans in Mexico.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday accused Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a key figure in the Zetas drug operation, of setting up a horse-breeding operation that a younger brother operated from a ranch 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 and Lone Star Park near Dallas.

The Zetas are one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, with a reputation for willing to commit atrocities including kidnapping, decapitating and dismembering enemies. The elder Trevino is the second-in-command and one of the U.S. and Mexican governments' most wanted men, known for his brutality. One technique favored by Miguel Angel Trevino Morales is the "guiso," or stew, in which enemies are placed in 55-gallon drums and burned alive.

Underscoring the threat of the Zetas, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a travel advisory Tuesday, warning the arrests could result in some form of retaliation and urged U.S. citizens in Mexico to maintain a low profile.


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