HORSES confiscated in a criminal case as “evidence” are typically taken care of pending the outcome. However, in this instance the Judge is allowing federal prosecutors to the horses at auction before the case goes to trial.
DALLAS, Tex. — (AP) A federal judge in Texas is allowing prosecutors to sell more than 400 racehorses amid allegations the animals were used to launder profits from a Mexican drug cartel.
Fifteen people are charged in the investigation, which centers on the operation of an Oklahoma horse ranch. Among those in custody is Jose Trevino Morales. Prosecutors say he is the brother of two alleged leaders of the Zetas cartel.
Authorities seized 49 of the most valuable horses and claimed control of the remaining 414. Prosecutors said in court documents that four horses have died. Others have been injured due to overcrowding. Caring for the horses is also expensive.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks last week gave prosecutors permission to auction the horses and hold the proceeds until the case is resolved.
The horses in this case — totally innocent — are suffering. A reported 11 have already died, succumbing to illness and the heat.
LEXINGTON, Okl. — Horses are dying from illness and the heat at an overcrowded ranch here that federal prosecutors allege was being run with drug money from a ruthless Mexican cartel.
Eleven horses have died and others have become sick and hurt since FBI agents raided Zule Farms June 12, prosecutors reported to a judge.
Because of the health issues and other concerns, the judge in Texas has agreed to let the federal government sell all of the more than 450 horses linked to the drug cartel. About 380 of the horses are at the Lexington ranch.
Oklahoma, New Mexico horse-racing tracks linked to Mexican drug cartel, Feds say; Fox News; Jun. 13, 2012
Quarter horse racing, the Treviño brothers and drug money from Mexico; Tuesday’s Horse; Jun. 12, 2012