US Indicts 14 In Alleged Drug and Money Laundering Scheme Involving Horses

June 13, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Samuel Rubenfeld

A federal grand jury in Texas voted to return an indictment against 14 defendants in connection with a conspiracy to launder Los Zetas drug money by buying, training, breeding and racing American quarter horses in the U.S.

Among those charged was Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, the leader of Los Zetas, along with his brothers, Oscar Omar Trevino Morales and Jose Trevino-Morales, the Justice Department said.

The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. It accuses the Zetas of directing part of the cash generated from selling drugs to buy, train, breed and race quarter horses in the U.S.

Miguel and Oscar sent their brother Jose and his wife cash to operate Tremor Enterprises LLC, the business they created for the horse training, the indictment said.

“This case is a prime example of the ability of Mexican drug cartels to establish footholds in legitimate U.S. industries and highlights the serious threat money laundering causes to our financial system,” said Rich Weber, chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, in a statement (pdf).

“This attack on one of the Zeta’s most profitable money laundering schemes is an essential front in the war on drugs and will financially disrupt and help dismantle this violent international criminal organization,” Weber said.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of several quarter horses, including Tempting Dash, winner of the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Oct. 24, 2009; Mr. Piloto, $1 million All American Futurity winner at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day, 2010; Dashin Follies; Coronita Cartel; and Separate Fire.

It also seeks the forfeiture of farm and ranch equipment; horse racing equipment; property in Lexington, Okla. and Bastrop County, Texas; and money contained in bank accounts used in the scheme.

Earlier Tuesday, authorities arrested seven of the 14 defendants, including Jose Trevino-Morales and his wife, Zulema Trevino, in Lexington, Okla. Also arrested were Fernando Solis Garcia in Ruidoso, N.M.; Carlos Miguel Nayen Borbolla, Adrian Farias and Felipe Alejandro Quintero in Los Angeles; and Eusevio Maldonado Huitron in Austin, Texas. They remain in federal custody, the Justice Department said.

None of those arrested could be reached for comment.

The New York Times, in a blockbuster 4,000-word story, reported earlier Tuesday about the scheme. The Times reported that an FBI affidavit said the Zetas channeled about $1 million a month into buying quarter horses in the U.S, and that authorities were tipped off in January 2010, when the cartel paid more than $1 million in a single day for two broodmares.

In its report, the paper said it became aware of Tremor’s activity in December 2011 while reporting about the Zetas and learned of the U.S. government probe last month, but agreed to hold the story until Tuesday morning’s arrests.

Among those charged but not arrested is Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa of Veracruz, Mexico. Colorado Cessa is accused in the indictment of acting as a straw buyer for various horses. In connection with the indictment, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control slapped Kingpin Act sanctions [OFAC SDN Sanctions] on him that label Colorado Cessa as a narcotics trafficker.

“Our action cuts Colorado Cessa off from the U.S. financial system and it is yet another signal to Miguel and Omar Trevino Morales, and the Zetas, that OFAC will target their financial and business network wherever it is found,” said Adam Szubin, director of OFAC, in the statement.

The Zetas were designated under the Kingpin Act as a narcotics trafficker by the president in 2009. The group is notorious for its violence; officials blamed the Zetas for a dump of 49 headless and handless bodies in May along a Mexican highway. Since 2009, OFAC has designated several of its top leaders and dozens of its lieutenants.”

US v. Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, et al. – Federal Criminal Indictment

18 U.S.C. § 1956


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Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

Daniel Barrera-Barrera, Javier Fernandez-Barrero, and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero Indicted in a Superseding Indictment on Federal Drugs Charges

September 14, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 12, 2011 released the following:

“Three High-Level Colombian Narcotics Traffickers Indicted

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), announced the unsealing of a superseding indictment against Daniel Barrera-Barrera, 42, a/k/a “Loco Barrera,” Javier Fernandez-Barrero, 43, and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero, 45, both collectively known as “Los Gorditos.” Two of the three were arrested; Barrera-Barrera remains at large. Colombian officials recently announced a $2.7 million reward for the capture of Daniel Barrera-Barrera, whom Colombian authorities describe as one the “most wanted” individuals n Colombia.

The superseding indictment alleges that the three defendants conspired to manufacture and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine knowing that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States. The superseding indictment also charges that Daniel Barrera-Barrera conspired to import cocaine into the United States. If convicted, the defendants each face a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

On February 11, 2011, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer announced the creation of the BACRIM prosecution unit within the Narcotics Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, specifically dedicated to dismantling emerging Bandas Criminales in Colombia. This is the first such unit in the United States specifically designed to target the emerging BACRIMs. The prosecution announced today is part of the BACRIM initiative. Including the defendants announced today, more than 100 BACRIM leaders and associates have been indicted by the Southern District of Florida. In addition, just last week, at a joint press conference in Colombia with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Attorney General Viviane Morales, Ferrer announced two additional BACRIM prosecutions: Operation Under the Sea and Operation Seven Trumpets, resulting in charges against 56 defendants in six separate federal cases.

“This indictment marks another success in our efforts to dismantle the emerging BACRIMs. It is the culmination of a significant long-term law enforcement investigation,” said United States Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “We will work tirelessly and commit our efforts to dismantling these narcotics trafficking organizations.”

“The arrests announced today exemplify coordinated, multi-national law enforcement efforts reaching into the highest levels of a drug trafficking organization’s leadership,” said Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge for DEA Miami Field Division. “The DEA will continue these joint efforts and maintain our sights on those who most damage our communities, whether from within or outside the geographic boundaries of the United States.”

“Drug kingpin Daniel Barrera-Barrera remains one of Colombia’s most wanted criminals,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “His indictment, along with Javier and Orlando Fernandez-Barrero, has significantly disrupted their criminal enterprise which is responsible for distributing tons of cocaine into the U.S. and other countries.”

“Transnational Criminal Organizations are a direct threat to the national security of the United States,” said Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Miami. “The combined efforts of ICE Homeland Security Investigations and our law enforcement partners are designed to disrupt and dismantle these illicit organizations.”

On March 2, 2010, the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) designated Barrera-Barrera as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker (SDNT) due to his significant role in international narcotics trafficking. According to OFAC, Barrera-Barrera operates primarily in the eastern plains of Colombia, between Bogota and the Venezuelan border, and maintains a partnership with the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), a narco-terrorist organization identified by the President as a kingpin pursuant to the Kingpin Act in 2003.

The charges announced today are part of “Operation Splinter Cell,” an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation led by DEA. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Mr. Ferrer commends the outstanding investigative efforts of the DEA, FBI and ICE-HSI, as well as the Colombian Fiscalia General and the Colombian National Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Fels.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at or at one of the offices listed above.

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