Horse News

Horses Linked to Drug Cartel Sold at Oklahoma City Auction for $8.74 Million

By Nolan Clay as printed in the Oklahoman

Like all criminal organizations, the Zetas are motivated by money

Filly, Dash of Sweet Heat, sold for $1 Million

One racehorse, A Dash of Sweet Heat, sold for $1 million.

The Cartel Straw went for $300,000 while Super Long Straw went for $200,000.

Overall, the top bidders at the three-day auction in Oklahoma City last week agreed to pay $8.74 million for quarter horses linked by the federal government to the Zetas, a violent Mexican drug cartel, records show.

Those funds will go into an escrow account until after a trial next year in Texas for nine defendants accused in an indictment of involvement in a $20 million money-laundering conspiracy.

The federal government will get the money if there are convictions.

“Like all criminal organizations, the Zetas are motivated by money,” said Robert Pitman, the U.S. attorney who is prosecuting the case in Texas.

“Identifying and taking their assets is an important way to lay an ax to the root of the tree.”

“If successful, the forfeiture of these assets will represent a major step in our efforts to interrupt the cartel’s activity within in the United States,” he said.

Ranch operator awaits trial

The key defendant awaiting trial is Jose Trevino Morales, 46, who operated Zule Farms, a horse ranch in Lexington. FBI agents in June arrested him and his wife, Zulema Trevino, at the ranch.

A federal grand jury May 30 reported he is the older brother of two leaders of the powerful Zetas.

The grand jury alleged his brothers sent millions of dollars in drug funds to him to purchase, breed, train and race quarter horses.

The two brothers, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, also known as “40,” and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales, also known as “42,” also were indicted but have not been arrested.

Both are believed to be in Mexico and are suspected of multiple murders.Almost 340 quarter horses or horse embryos linked to the alleged conspiracy were sold at the auction in Oklahoma City, records show.

The auction ran Thursday through Saturday at Heritage Place, a unique sale facility well-known in the horse industry.

The most expensive horse at the auction was A Dash of Sweet Heat. The winning bidder for the filly was breeder Julianna Hawn Holt, one of the owners of the San Antonio Spurs, records show. She had owned the horse previously.

Another 99 horses — all broodmares — were sold Sept. 11 to reduce crowding at the ranch in Lexington. The Internal Revenue Service collected about $32,175 in gross proceeds from the broodmares’ sale, records show. Those funds also are to be kept in escrow until after the trial.

The federal government still retains possession of about 45 quarter horses, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release about the auction.

Those horses are expected to be auctioned or sold at a later date.

Held out of last week’s auction were five of the more valuable horses — Tempting Dash, Mr. Piloto, Separate Fire, Dashin Follies and a colt identified only as Y516.

Prosecutors agreed to hold those horses out of any auction before trial after Jose Trevino agreed not to try to block the sale of the other horses.

11 replies »

  1. Brood mares sold at auction..Sperm donors held back.. Makes me wonder which connected crooked politician is gonna pocket proceeds from the stallions at a later date. I’m against drug cartels but I think there’s some government behind them…


  2. those 99 broodmares went for an average price of about $325 each. wonder how many of them went to kbs? is it possible to get a list of all the mares and their selling price?


  3. Great Point Dennise. Did you know Obama ,as a senator, voted to stop horse slaughter?
    On another note,drugs are smuggled into Mexico via horses insides just as is dogs. Animal Planet did an investgative report on dogs. Horses can carry more.
    Another reason our government won’t stop horse slaughter into Mexico. Drugs are the number one money maker in the world economy because people hurt so badly both mentally and physically.
    Remember Pres. Reagan? Selling drugs for arms in S. America and the poppy fields in Afganistan,flourishing more now than ever.
    If horses insides were ex-rayed… the borders….wow!


    • Well, I believe that drugs should be legalized because it would take the profit out of illegal running (similar to prohibition), would fund rehab for addiction and generate revenue (even Wm F. Buckley said the war on drugs was poop). Flame on opposition, but just remember….IT NEVER STOPS, no matter how hard you try to legislate morality….same with illegal immigration (thank you small and big biz…and the freaking ICE, Congress and Homeland Security)….I feel the heat from the bonfires being stoked as I hit the keys. Remember Prez Reagan’s illegal immigration amnesty program?????? Give amnesty and we won’t have an illegal problem anymore???????!!!!! Yeah, right and pigs fly! He and Congress NEVER addressed the real problem….cheap labor, worker extortion and jobs that most Americans won’t do. I’m for a visa system (not the credit card)….our visa system STINKS!

      I still want to know where those $325 mares went and to whom.


      • p.s. As to the Zeta’s?….the Feds, state and locals IN ADDITION TO THE ZETA’S ATTORNEY(ies) will expend that same amount (sale revenues) and MORE from seizure to about four months out in litigation costs to all involved, especially the American taxpayer.

        Very sad actually and an indictment of our judicial system, juris prudence and the weenies that administer it…EITHER SIDE! Not sure? Check out the litigation re: wild equidae.

        OK..I’m done here……GO VOTE!!!!!!!!! God Bless America.


  4. It’s disgusting if these horses were sold to slaughter. They did their part, they raced. They deserve a good life not to be sold for $ and then killed. It’s time to stop this senseless abuse of animals. I want to know too where the $325 mares went too….


  5. Every horse breeding operation in the country disposes of their broodmares this way because they all know that they can not be bothered with trying to find homes for any of them. These people have been doing this for years or as long as horse slaughter has been going on in the US and they are still doing it as the horses are being shipped across the borders and sent to Japan. These greedy people are not about to curtail their over breeding if there is any way any of them could come up with the magic horse they are all so desperately looking for among the thousands of foals they breed each year. It is something that is ingrained in the industry.


  6. The government likes to come up with new taxes all the time.
    We need one like the cities have for dogs and cats. Horses capable of reproduction are taxed a lot more than neutered ones. Each foal has an additional tax. Back yard breeders are included in this.
    Any shipping of horses across borders is against the law–penalties are large fines and forfeiture of horses and equipment.


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