Published: Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 - 10:56 am
DALLAS -- 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.