Updated on 10/18/2013 8:08AM

Nine arrested in Texas for illegal horse racing, gambling

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A group of nine people, including six police officers, were arrested Saturday outside Houston and charged with participating in an illegal horse racing and gambling enterprise. The arrests came after an 11-month investigation that included multiple undercover surveillance operations, according to a press release issued by the Harris County District Attorney’s office in Houston.

The arrests were made at Rancho El Herradero in the small town of Crosby, which is located about 20 minutes northeast of Houston. The individuals were cited for “racing without a license” in charges that allege an illegal operation at the facility, where police officers provided security while gambling was taking place. Racing without a license is a third-degree felony and carries penalties of as much as 10 years in prison and $10,000 fine, according to Camille Hepola, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Hepola said an initial court date for each of the defendants was held Monday. Their charges were read and a $5,000 bail was set for each. All nine were released on bond, and their next hearing is set for Nov. 21.

Court documents indicate the illegal races were held on the approximate dates of March 2, March 30, April 27, June 23, Aug. 31, and Oct. 5. It is unclear whether the races were for Quarter Horses or Thoroughbreds. The investigation is still ongoing, according to Hepola.

The police officers arrested were Secar Guadelupe Rangel, Joel Garcia, Richard Rene Rivera, David Green, Edward Scott, and Carlos Garza. Others arrested were Consuelo Rivera, Reginaldo Mandujano, and Diana Marie Salinas.

“Peace officers take an oath to uphold the law [and] to discover them actually working in their official capacity to provide security for organized criminal enterprises is extremely alarming and disappointing,” Terese Buess, chief of the public integrity division for district attorney’s office in Harris County, said in the release.

The investigation that led to the arrests was spearheaded by the district attorney’s office, as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers.