The brother of two Mexican cartel leaders was sentenced to 20 years in prison on for running a money laundering operation from a sprawling horse ranch in Oklahoma.
A federal judge in Texas sentenced Jose Trevino Morales, who was found guilty of investing $16 million of drug money in the buying, training and racing of horses across the Southwest. His brothers, Miguel Angel and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales, are believed to lead the Zetas cartel, which has expanded beyond the drug trade to become the biggest criminal group in Mexico.
The indictment against him estimates he received $10 million per month in income from cocaine sales alone.
Jose Trevino Morales was among 18 people indicted last year in a federal investigation that charged him with running the horse operation from a sprawling ranch near Lexington, Okla., on behalf of his brothers.
More than 400 of the horses involved were seized and auctioned, and proceeds from the sales have netted the government $9 million, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
When U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks gave Trevino a chance to speak, he said: “I am not a Zeta. I don’t have aggressive intentions toward anybody.” Trevino said his defense failed him and did not allow him to testify.
Sparks said the evidence was “pretty overwhelming.”
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