30 Quarter Horses Seized in Federal Money Laundering Bust

Drugs and horses

A federal investigation led to a major bust including the seizure of over 30 Quarter Horses and more than 100 kilograms of cocaine.

Authorities say they arrested 15 people charged in connection with a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy that stretched from Texas and into Oklahoma.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said they arrested: Juan Villarreal-Arelis aka “Juando”, 43; Reymundo Villarreal-Arelis aka “Mundo”, 45; Jose Luis Villarreal-Gonzalez aka “Nune”, 32; Manuel Villarreal-Garcia, 40; Sergio Guadalupe Adame-Ochoa, 65; Norma Leticia Villarreal-Garcia, 47; Iza Corina Flores-Alanis, 36; Jovanna Villarreal-Diaz, 37; Raymundo Villarreal, Jr. aka “Mundito”,  23; Gilberto Villarreal-Villarreal, 27; Juan Antonio Villarreal, 24; Jesus Jaime Andrade, 37; Denis Winn, 54; Jose Luis Villarreal-Arelis aka “El Cosas”, 57; and Nancy Isela Villarreal-Gonzalez, 51.

A San Antonio Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment in April, but it was just unsealed. It charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit money laundering since 2000. The defendants allegedly conspired to engage in financial transactions using proceeds from cocaine; and sent monetary instruments outside of the United States in an effort to conceal the source of proceeds derived from their unlawful activity.

A few of the men are facing additional charges including wire fraud, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to structure transactions to evade reporting requirements. Three defendants are accused of purchasing American Quarter Horses from an auction house in Oklahoma beginning in 2011 with drug proceeds. Each payment was under $10,000 to avoid completing an IRS form 8300. It would alert the IRS and possibly raise suspicion regarding the funds.

Authorities also seized about $500,000 in farm equipment, 20 vehicles, 60 firearms and more than $50,000.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of twelve real estate properties in Cameron and Hidalgo counties valued at $15 million and a monetary judgment of $30 million.