Updated on 09/06/2013 3:26PM

Mexican cartel associates sentenced in Quarter Horse case


Four men associated with the notorious Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel have received lengthy prison sentences after being convicted on money-laundering charges related to the purchase and training of Quarter Horses in the U.S., according to prosecutors in the case.

Jose Trevino Morales, who is the brother of one of the purported leaders of Los Zetas, and Francisco Colorado Cessa were both sentenced to 20 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks. Both were described in a statement from prosecutors as “Veracruz businessmen.”

Sparks also sentenced Fernando Solis Garcia, a 30-year-old trainer and agent, to 160 months in prison. Garcia allegedly purchased Quarter Horses on behalf of Morales and Cessa. On Friday, Sparks sentenced Eusevio Maldonado Huitron, a 50-year-old trainer based in Austin, Texas, to 97 months in prison, also for his role in the scheme.

The four were convicted in May of this year by a federal jury on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors said that the three used money raised by the drug cartel to purchase, train, breed and race Quarter Horses.

Authorities seized more than 400 Quarter Horses after making arrests in the investigation in June 2012. Most of the horses have been sold at auction, raising $9 million, an amount that remains in escrow.