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Federal Agents Seize Horses in Zetas Case (Jun 15, 2012)

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Federal agents have been forced to seize a dozen horses in New Mexico that are part of a racing operation allegedly laundering money for one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, with the aid of a Lexington, Okla horse ranch.

Prosecutors said in court documents filed Friday that they'd hoped a previous protective order would force companies used to front the operation to pay for the continued care of more than 400 horses. But the government will now care for 12 abandoned this week after their trainers refused to continue caring for them.

Authorities had estimated it would have cost Jose Trevino, among those charged with money laundering, $200,000 a month to care for all the horses. Among those seized at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico were Break Out the Bullets and Eye on Corona.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An FBI agent says a Texas horse trainer accused of helping a Mexican drug cartel launder money would potentially be in danger from the cartel if released on bail.

Federal prosecutors Friday sought to keep Eusevio Maldonado Huitron in custody. The 48-year-old who trains horses near Austin is charged with conspiracy to launder money and was arrested as part of a nationwide sweep that included two reputed leaders in the Zetas drug gang.

FBI agent Haskell Wilkins testified that Huitron likely would flee "to avoid retaliation" from the cartel if released. The hearing is scheduled to continue Monday, and Maldonado will remain in jail until then.

The Zetas have been accused of smuggling thousands of tons of drugs into the United States and dismembering rivals.

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