The general manager of a U.S. horseracing track denied allegations Monday that the chief of Mexico's most violent drug cartel had fixed a $1 million race so his own horse would win.
According to two confidential FBI informants, Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, also known as "40," bragged that he had paid the gatekeepers at New Mexico's Ruidoso Downs $10,000 "to hold back the horses" competing against his own horse, Mr. Piloto, in the 2010 All American Futurity Race, which Mr. Piloto won.
Trevino Morales and 13 other defendants were indicted last week for allegedly laundering at least $20 million in cocaine profits through horse racing, breeding and training in the U.S. The informants' claims were part of an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant for an Oklahoma horse ranch allegedly owned by a Zetas front corporation.
Shaun Hubbard, general manager of Ruidoso Downs, adamantly denied the informants' alleged charge.
"We have looked at the videotape of the 2010 All American Futurity from every angle many times in recent days and can see no evidence of any horse being held or denied a fair start," said Hubbard in a statement to ABC News.
"We can find no evidence that there was any wrongdoing by our starting-gate crew," added Hubbard. "We also want to make it clear that we have totally cooperated with the FBI investigation and will continue to offer support for this investigation."
One of the confidential informants also alleged in the affidavit that his horses had competed against horses belonging to Omar Trevino Morales, AKA 42, in Mexico but that 42's horses "would always win because of CI #1's knowledge that '42' would get upset at a loss and most likely kill his opponent as a result."
A third confidential informant allegedly stated that in 2007, in Monclova, Mexico, an individual named Triana had entered his own rooster in a cockfight against a rooster owned by 42. Triana's rooster won. "Approximately 15 days after the rooster fight," alleged CI #3, "'42' had Triana killed because '42's' rooster had lost the fight."
Miguel Angel Trevino and Omar Trevino allegedly laundered their drug profits through a horseracing operation run by a third brother, Jose, and his wife, according to the U.S. indictment handed down in Texas last week. Jose Trevino Morales, his wife and six other defendants were arrested. Miguel Angel and Omar remain at large in Mexico. The Drug Enforcement Administration has offered $5 million apiece for information leading to the capture of Miguel Angel and Omar.
The brothers, whose numeric aliases refer to their alleged rank within the Zetas at the time of the cartel's creation several years ago, are now allegedly top leaders of an organization that controls drug trafficking in the east and south of Mexico. Miguel, or "40," allegedly runs the Zetas along with "3," Heriberto Lazcano.
The Zetas began in 1999 when former members of the Mexican military signed on to work as security for the Gulf drug cartel. The Zetas went into business for themselves and are now at war with the Gulf Cartel. The Zetas are based in Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas state just across the border from Laredo, Texas.