Updated on 07/15/2013 4:27PM

Alleged drug smugglers may have ties to Quarter Horse racing


A group of 18 people who were arrested last week in Louisiana on charges of drug smuggling included several individuals with ties to Quarter Horse racing in the state, according to reports covering the arrests and officials with the state racing commission.

The list of people arrested included several who appear to be involved in or related to individuals in the state’s Quarter Horse racing industry. Charles Gardiner, the executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission, said late Monday that the commission had verified that several individuals were licensed in the state, but he declined to provide the verified names until he was able to recheck the records.

“We’re weighing our options about what we can do, if anything,” Gardiner said. “Precedent says that it’s not grounds for [license suspension] on an arrest, only on a felony conviction, so we’re kind of in a holding pattern right now.”

Gardiner did confirm that one of the arrested persons, Alvin Smith III, is the son of Alvin Smith Jr., a Quarter Horse trainer who was suspended last year for 10 years by the Louisiana Racing Commission after horses he trained tested positive for dermorphin, a powerful painkiller. Smith Jr. was one of eight Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred trainers to be suspended for findings of the drug in 2012.

Local, state, and federal agents made the arrests after serving 11 search warrants last week in Louisiana and Texas, according to the reports. During the searches, agents seized stashes of methamphetamines and discovered three meth labs, the reports said. The investigation leading to the arrests started 18 months ago.

The arrests took place approximately 13 months after the U.S. government charged 14 people, including several alleged members of the notorious Zetas drug cartel in Mexico, with money laundering, allegedly through the buying and selling of Quarter Horses, according to an indictment. That indictment claimed that the transactions occurred throughout the Southwest, including in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, the states that form a Quarter Horse circuit with Louisiana.