Nine people were indicted on Dec. 19 by a Parker County grand jury for operating an illegal horse racing meet in Springtown, Texas, located 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
The Parker County Sheriff’s Office assisted the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division, as well as several other agencies, in arresting the individuals at the operation at 1377 Walnut Creek Drive in Springtown. Dozens of horses were found to be forced to race illegally in an unsanctioned race and numerous large syringes and drug paraphernalia were found on the scene.
“The Racing Act was established in order to keep horses from racing more than once in a 24-hour period,” Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said in a previous release. “Most of the horses and jockeys were found to be racing twice in the same weekend. These laws were created to protect them.”
Law enforcement officials said illegal shocking devices, typically used to enhance the performance of horses, were also found at the scene.
The individuals are Jessica Judith Davila, Yesenia Garza, Blanca Gonsalez, Edgar Valentin Mendoza, Juan Francisco Renteria, Ever Noruf Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Pablo Erasmo Solis, Ivan Raymundo Suarez and Alonso Venzor. According to the sheriff’s office, Garza was discovered to be the head of the operation.
“Each of these defendants is charged with the third degree felony offense of conducting a horse race without a license,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain said. “A conviction for this offense carries with it a punishment of two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The cases were assigned to the 415th District Court, Judge Graham Quisenberry presiding. They are scheduled for arraignment on Feb. 5, 2020 and will reach the trial docket in May.”
Police estimated more than 1,000 people were in attendance during the illegal races. No spectators were arrested. Some of those indicted are facing detainers from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.