Austin horse trainer, Eusevio Maldonado Huitron, was sentenced Friday to 97 months in federal prison. He will serve three years supervised release for his role in a conspiracy to launder millions of dollars. Authorities say the proceeds were used to purchase, train, breed, and race American Quarter Horses in the United States.
United States District Judge Sam Sparks also sentenced co-defendant Raul Ramirez, of El Paso, to one year plus a day in federal prison after pleading guilty prior to trial to the conspiracy charge.
Other co-defendants who pleaded guilty to various federal charges prior to trial received probation sentences. Zulema Trevino was sentenced to three years; Alexandra Garcia Trevino of Oceanside, California got two years; horse trainer Adan Farias of Norco, California received three years as did Felipe Alejandro Quintero of Los Alamitos, California. Judge Sparks also ordered that Farias, Quintero, and Ramirez each pay a $3,600 fine. Sentencing for Carlos Miguel Nayen Borbolla of Santa Anna, California, was postponed.
Earlier in the week, Judge Sparks sentenced Jose Trevino Morales of Balch Springs, Texas, and Francisco Colorado Cessa, a Mexico businessman, each to 240 months in federal prison. Fernando Solis Garcia, a horse trainer from New Mexico received 160 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Jose Trevino Morales is the brother of purported Los Zetas leaders, Miguel Trevino Morales (aka “40”), and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales (aka “42”).
On May 9, 2013, a federal jury convicted Jose Trevino Morales, Francisco Colorado Cessa, Fernando Solis Garcia, and Eusevio Maldonado Huitron of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Evidence presented during trial revealed that Los Zetas are a powerful drug cartel based in Mexico and generate multi-million-dollar revenues from drug trafficking.
Since 2008, Miguel and Oscar Trevino Morales would direct portions of the bulk cash generated from the sale of illegal narcotics to Jose Trevino and his wife, Zulema Trevino, for purchasing, training, breeding, and racing American Quarter Horses in the United States.
Testimony also revealed a shell game by the defendants involving straw purchasers and transactions worth millions of dollars in New Mexico, Oklahoma, California, and Texas to disguise the source drug money and make the proceeds from the sale of quarter horses or their race winnings appear legitimate. Furthermore, the defendants implemented a scheme to structure cash deposits in amounts under $10,000 in order to circumvent mandatory bank reporting requirements.
Over 400 quarter horses (which were seized by federal authorities in June 2012 as part of the above-mentioned money laundering operation) have been sold for approximately $9 million. Most of the horses were sold at Heritage Place Auction Facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the past year including A Dash of Sweet Heat, which sold for $1 million.
Approximately 100 broodmares were sold prior to auction for approximately $35,000. The federal government still retains possession of five quarter horses, including Tempting Dash, winner of the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas in 2009; Mr. Piloto, $1 million All American Futurity winner at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day 2010; Dashin Follies; Separate Fire; Y516, a yearling seized in Lexington, OK; and four embryos transferred from donor mares Dashin Follies and Separate Fire.
U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman noted that the funds from the sale of the horses are being held in escrow pending the resolution of a forfeiture action. The government also seeks the forfeiture of real property in Lexington, Oklahoma; farm and ranch equipment located at that site; and funds contained in multiple bank accounts allegedly used in the defendants’ scheme. The government also seeks a monetary judgment in the amount of $60 million representing property involved in and derived from the conspiracy.
Authorities continue to seek the apprehension of seven co-defendants in this case including purported leaders of the Los Zetas, Miguel Trevino Morales (aka “40”) and his brother, Oscar Trevino Morales (aka “42”), as well as Victor Manuel Lopez, Sergio Guerrero Rincon, Luis Gerardo Aguirre, Erick Jovan Lozano Diaz, and Gerardo Garza Quintero.