Mexico’s Standing Rock? Sempra, TransCanada Face Indigenous Pipeline Resistance South of Border

“While best known for the Canada-to-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline and the years-long fight to build that proposed tar sands line, the Alberta-based TransCanada has also faced permitting issues in Mexico for its proposed U.S.-to-Mexico gas pipelines.”


by Steve Horn

Since Mexico privatized its oil and gas resources in 2013, border-crossing pipelines including those owned by Sempra Energy and TransCanada have come under intense scrutiny and legal challenges, particularly from Indigenous peoples.

Opening up the spigot for U.S. companies to sell oil and gas into Mexico was a top priority for the Obama State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Mexico is now facing its own Standing Rock-like moment as the Yaqui Tribe challenges Sempra Energy’s Agua Prieta pipeline between Arizona and the Mexican state of Senora. The Yaquis in the village of Loma de Bacum claim that the Mexican government has failed to consult with them adequately, as required by Mexican law.

Indigenous Consultations

Under Mexico’s new legal approach to energy, pipeline project permits require consultations with Indigenous peoples living along pipeline routes. (In addition, Mexico supported the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes the principle of “free, prior and informed consent” from Indigenous peoples on projects affecting them — something Canada currently is grappling with as well.)

It was a similar lack of indigenous consultation which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said was the impetus for lawsuits and the months-long uprising against the Dakota Access pipeline near the tribe’s reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in late 2016. Now, according to Bloomberg and Mexican reporter Gema Villela Valenzuela for the Spanish language publication Cimacnoticias, history is repeating itself in the village of Loma de Bacum in northwest Mexico.

Agua Prieta, slated to cross the Yaqui River, was given the OK by seven of eight Yaqui tribal communities. But the Yaquis based in Loma de Bacum have come out against the pipeline passing through their land, even going as far as chopping out a 25 foot section of pipe built across it.

“The Yaquis of Loma de Bacum say they were asked by community authorities in 2015 if they wanted a 9-mile tract of the pipeline running through their farmland — and said no. Construction went ahead anyway,” Bloomberg reported in a December 2017 story. “The project is now in a legal limbo. Ienova, the Sempra unit that operates the pipeline, is awaiting a judicial ruling that could allow them to go in and repair it — or require a costlier re-route.”

As the legal case plays out in the Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico, disagreements over the pipeline and its construction in Loma de Bacum have torn the community apart and even led to violence, according to Cimacnoticias.

Construction of the pipeline “has generated violence ranging from clashes between the community members themselves, to threats to Yaqui leaders and women of the same ethnic group, defenders of the Human Rights of indigenous peoples and of the land,” reported Cimacnoticias, according to a Spanish-to-English translation of its October 2016 story.

“They explained that there have been car fires and fights that have ended in homicide. Some women in the community have had to stay in places they consider safe, on the recommendation of the Yaquis authorities of the town of Bácum, because they have received threats after opposing signing the collective permit for the construction of the pipeline.”

Read more here


BLM claims selling wild horses to kill buyer Tom Davis was selling them to a “good home”

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2017

On the Bureau of Land Management’s new website, on the Program Data page for the Wild Horse & Burro Program (under the Wild Horse and Burro Sales to Private Care tab), the BLM claims “It has been and remains the policy of the BLM, despite the unrestricted sales authority of the Burns Amendment, NOT to sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughterhouses or to “kill buyers.”

The BLM claims “Wild Horses and Burros Sold to Good Homes” but then includes a total of 402 wild horses and burros sold in Fiscal Year 2012. (In this 402 total, 320 were horses and 82 were burros.)

BLM sale logs obtained by us in Freedom of Information Act requests indicate that in Fiscal Year 2012, the BLM sold 239 wild horses (almost 80% of the 320 horses that were sold) to kill buyer Tom Davis of La Jara, CO.  Many, if not all, of these wild horses went to slaughter in Mexico.

Does this look like a “good home” to you?

BLM states it has a policy not to sell wild horses and burros to kill buyers, but:

  1. On 1/11/12, Lester T. Duke (BLM Burns, Oregon) sent an email to BLM’s Bea Wade, regarding 50 sale authority horses, noting that a “large portion”of the mares were “possibly pregnant.” Lester asked if they should ship to long term holding or hold them at the corrals for sale. Bea responded that she forwarded the email to Sally Spencer. After a couple of more emails regarding this, Sally finally sent email on 2/23/12 that Tom Davis would purchase the horses, starting with the load of mares from Burns, Oregon. (About a week later, BLM sold Tom Davis 32 horses from the Burns, Oregon corrals.   19 of these horses were mares)
  2. On 4/19/12, Deanna Masterson, Public Affairs specialist for the BLM Colorado state office, sent an “Early Alert” email to “WO BLM/DOI Officials” (Jeff Krause, Leigh Espy, Helen Hankins, Steven Hall, Tom Gorey and Sally Spencer) that “The Colorado Department of Agriculture notified the BLM Colorado State Office of a Colorado Open Records request from David Phillips, a freelance journalist, for brand inspection and transfer paperwork for horses the BLM sold to Tom Davis of La Jara, Colorado. Phillips indicated he suspected Davis of selling these horses for slaughter to Mexico.”
  3. On 4/24/12, the BLM, alerted that Tom Davis was suspected of selling horses for slaughter, still sells 106 wild horses to Tom Davis.
  4. On 5/17/12, Sally Spencer sent out an email, marked “High” importance, to 21 people (Joe Stratton, Roger Oyler, Amy Dumas, Fran Ackley, Karen Malloy, Christopher Robbins, Jared Bybee, Robert Mitchell, Alan Shepherd, Rob Sharp, Robert Hopper, Gus Warr, June Wendlandt, Joan Guilfoyle, Mary D’Aversa, Dean Bolstadt, Jeff Krause, Tom Gorey, Debbie Collins, Lili Thomas, Bea Wade) and BLM_WO_260 WHB Communications, telling them a reporter was calling about Tom Davis. Spencer asked Joe Stratton to send out a message to all facility managers and the state leads to send a message out to all WHB Specialists that if they were asked “specifics” about a purchaser, they shouldn’t respond for privacy issues…”

If BLM personnel were so convinced that they sold the wild horses and burros to a “good home,” why all of the urgency and secrecy?

If the BLM truly believes these horses were sold to a “good home,” why isn’t Tom Davis’ photo featured on the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program page on the BLM’s new website, instead of the photo of the young blonde girl? After all, the BLM sold Tom Davis 1,794 wild horses and burros from 2008-2012.

If the BLM thinks they’re fooling us, they’re only fooling themselves.

All documents referenced above can be seen HERE.

Glimpse into Horse Slaughter – Eagle Pass, Texas (raw video)

Video supplied by investigators from EWA and WHFF

“Quietly and behind the scenes the Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Federation have been watching, taking note and documenting more than just the unnecessary roundups of wild horses and burros by the BLM; but also paying attention to where tens of thousands of American horses and donkeys (domestic and wild) disappear to without even so much as a final wave goodbye.  Horse Slaughter has not been banned in the USA instead it has only moved across our borders and both our beloved domestic equines and our protected wild horses and burros continue to end up on the dinner plates of foreigners across the globe.

Below is simply raw video of what the horses go through as they cross the border from Texas to Mexico in the final hours of their precious lives.  No commentary, no music, no opinions as the footage speaks for itself.  We have simply released it to emphasis the need to act, of things to come and to remind those who participate in this predatory blood business that we are watching and taking names.  Yes, we are paying attention as the victims cannot speak for themselves but we can.  Let the kill buyer beware.  Keep the faith, my friends.  We are paying attention.” ~ R.T.

“Investigators with Wild Horse Freedom Federation/Equine Welfare Alliance spent several days down in Eagle Pass, Texas documenting events prior to slaughter horses being sent to Mexico for slaughter. Video shows horses being loaded for slaughter and them crossing over the border into Mexico, paperwork check by Gov. Official, going to weigh station and trucks coming into pen with slaughter horses.” ~ Investigator

Mexican Livestock Association Targets Horses for Human Consumption

Source: KRGV News

International Food Safety Documentation Tossed to the Wind

Horse MeatMCALLEN –Beef prices are at an all-time in Reynosa, Mexico. The concern prompted a livestock association to find other alternatives for consumers. They think horse meat could be the answer.

Gildardo Lopez, president of Reynosa Livestock Association, said studies showed that horse meat is cheaper than beef. He said Mexican consumers pay up to $13 for two pounds of beef, compared to the $7 they would spend on horse meat.

“We’re trying to focus on helping the low to middle class citizens,” Lopez said. “The high prices of beef increased significantly. In the world market it went up about 300 percent. Our alternative is to sacrifice horses for human consumption.”

Lopez said horses between the ages of 3 to 5 will be target for human consumption. The first animal will be prepared at a local slaughter house on Wednesday.

On Friday, the livestock association will invite the public to a Reynosa meat market, where they will offer a variety of dishes for consumers to try for free. They will also provide nutritional information.

“Studies show horse meat is nutritious,” Lopez said. “It doesn’t have grease. It’s low in cholesterol. It’s high in protein and rich in iron and other vitamins.”

Officials said it will likely take a while before local residents buy in on the concept of consuming horse meat.

The process of educating the public will be essential.

“We’re not going to fool anybody,” Lopez said. “We’re not going to start businesses and not tell people what they’re buying. They’ll know if it’s horse meat.”

Lopez said residents are already doing research on their own. They’re going online and checking out other countries that sell horse meat.

Gildardo Lopez said about 20 percent of people talking about the it are in support of horse meat consumption. He said he expects the number to grow.

The meat market that will offer the free sample is located on Heron Ramirez Street in Reynosa. They will be sampling on Friday from noon to 4 p.m.

Cynthia Martinez, a registered dietician, said she isn’t familiar with horse meat and would look into it’s nutritional values.

People cannot cross horse meat from Mexico to the United States through cargo or passenger lanes at any port of entry. The meat can only be enterable from foot and mouth disease-free countries like Canada and New Zealand. Argentina and Paraguay are also approved countries, because they have horse meat inspection systems that are approved by the USDA.

Consumers can learn more about horse meat through the USDA website.

Investigative Report: Eagle Pass Horse Slaughter Pens

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance Investigators recently completed an investigation at the Eagle Pass Export Pens and Mexico border. The investigation focused on the activity in relationship to the EU ban on horse meat from Mexico.

Release Date:

February 10, 2015

Report Date(s):

Jan 12, 2015 – Jan 16, 2015




Observe Eagle Pass Export Pens

[Run by the Texas Department of Agriculture]


Slaughter BoundInvestigators were at the Eagle Pass, Texas export pens to observe the impact on activity resulting from the approaching Jan 15 European Union [EU] regulation banning horse meat from Mexico. Despite the declaration that US horse meat is not safe for consumers, during the time the investigators were observing it appeared that there was no apparent change in the number of US equines sent to Mexico for slaughter.

During the entire week a total of 20 loads shipped to Mexico for slaughter. The number of shipments did not decrease after Jan 15, as had been anticipated. The day with the highest number of loads exported was Jan 16. The investigators also discovered during their time at the export pens that there were multiple violations of the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter regulations [9CFR88]. Specifically, violations of the mandatory 6-hour offload rest period for the horses were noted. The investigators also observed one violation of a rejected blind horse.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the investigators observed someone at the pens who appeared to be a USDA/APHIS Compliance Specialist for slaughter horse transportation. The investigators questioned the USDA to determine if there was a compliance officer present and are awaiting confirmation..

On Wednesday morning Jan. 14 the investigators contacted the USDA via email with questions regarding the EU ban and the responses were vague. The investigators contacted them again later in the week and informed them of violations that occurred during the week. They responded and indicated they were looking into it. On Friday the investigators contacted the USDA to inform them that they observed a hauler arriving too late for horses to get a 6-hour rest period and that this happened three times during the week. Later that day the investigators once again contacted them regarding a donkey that went down in a trailer being hauled by a regular pickup truck and was trampled by other equines. The animals all had slaughter tags.

Synopsis of Observations by the Investigators:

Monday Jan 12

  • The investigators observed three semi loads and two pick-up loads delivered to the pens and three semi loads departed the pens for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that only one load met the legal requirement of a 6-hour rest period before leaving.

Tuesday Jan 13

  • The investigators observed three semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that there was at least one violation per the 6-hour rest period requirement.

Wednesday Jan 14

  • The investigators observed four semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed the pens for Mexico. Note: it is possible the investigators missed a load arriving at the pens as the pens opened before the investigators arrived in the morning.
  • The investigators determined there are two violations, one violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement and one blind horse.

Thursday Jan 15

  • Two semi loads and several pickup truck loads were observed being dropped off at the pens.
  • Four semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that all loads, except the load that was dropped off at the pens the night before, were in violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement. The horses loaded for slaughter very early that day, making all loads dropped off during the morning and throughout the day in violation of the 6-hour requirement.

Friday Jan 16

  • Six semi loads and several pickup truck loads were delivered to the pens.
  • Five semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators believe one 6 hour rest period violation occurred before the [believed to be] USDA inspector arrived at the pens at 2:05p. No 6-hour rest violations appeared to have taken place after the person [believed to be] the USDA inspector arrived. The investigators believe this is because they informed the USDA of their findings.
  • At 2:40p a white pickup departed the pens hauling a mixture of horses, donkeys and burros. Upon leaving the pen property, a donkey fell down at the very back of the trailer. It tried to get up but could not. The investigators stopped the driver around the corner from the pens and informed them. They stopped but then continued on. The investigators followed them and watched the donkey struggle and get trampled by the other equines in the trailer. The investigators called law enforcement and provided information. At one point, the driver and passenger in the vehicle pulled over at a gas station and tried to get the donkey up. At that time the investigators observed a second animal down in the trailer. They did not succeed in getting the animals up and continued on. The investigators also called the Sheriff’s Department once the investigators left the town of Eagle Pass.
  • The investigators followed-up with Deputy Mario Garza of the Sheriff’s Department and were informed that the matter was taken care of. The investigators requested a report but were told that no report was ever made.
  • After the investigation was completed, multiple violations of 9CRF 88, USDA Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Regulations, were filed with USDA OIG.

Click (HERE) to download complete report with images

December Full of Christmas Cheer for American Horses

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Quietly, while most Americans made plans for holiday festivities several major milestones occurred this month that will enhance the safety and security of American equines during the upcoming new year. The activities of salvation seemed to occur unnoticed but we at SFTHH and WHFF want you to be well informed and perhaps even celebrate a bit over what has occurred.

First, Congress passed the Omnibus Bill on December 13th. The bill is a package that includes parts of the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bills and will fund most government agencies and programs until the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, 2015.

The legislation included language that prohibits the USDA from using any funds to provide inspectors at meat processing facilities that slaughter horses, continuing an effective block that has been in place since 2005, except for a brief period in 2012-13.

No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the United States, and the bill will prevent any such facility from opening until Sept. 30, 2015.

The language was included in the omnibus bill because both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees adopted amendments that prohibited funding for inspectors at horse slaughter facilities when they debated and approved their respective versions of the 2015 USDA appropriations bill. Many thanks to those who lobby on behalf of our horses in Washington D.C..

As a bonus the bill also contains a provision that would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from euthanizing healthy wild horses in its care or from selling wild horses or burros that result in their being processed into commercial products. Small step forward for the wild ones but a move forward none the less.

Secondly, and this may be the final death blow to the predatory business of horse slaughter, the European Commission has suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the European Union (EU) due to food safety concerns. We equine advocates have tried to stay focused on the issue of food safety for years and it appears that such perseverance has finally paid off.

Effective Jan. 15, the commission has suspended a residue monitoring plan that tests for the presence of horse meat in other imported meat products, according to Aikaterini Apostola, press officer for health for the European Commission, during a recent published interview.

“Such suspension results in a ban of the import of horse meat, meat preparations, and meat products from Mexico,” Apostola stated in an email. “The measure has been taken after repeated negative outcomes of the audits carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General in Mexico, the last of them in June 2014. This last audit also showed that many of the corrective actions that Mexico committed to take following previous audits were not yet taken.”

A key issue for the 28-member commission was inhumane treatment of the horses being shipped from the United States to Mexican slaughterhouses.

Michael Scannell, director of the Food and Veterinary Office, addressed the issue Nov. 30 at a European Parliament Intergroup meeting in Brussels by stating;

“In general, the worst contraventions we know are in relation to transport,” Scannell said. “By way of example, we will publish a report in the next number of weeks in relation to Mexico where we saw animals which arrived dead from the United States or non-ambulatory, i.e., they weren’t even able to stand.”

The transportation problem is also expected to affect slaughter operations in Canada, according to Scannell, who added the commission is close to imposing a “six-month” rule for Canada.

“So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult — impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada — to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union,” Scannell said.

So as you can see, American equine advocates truly do have something to celebrate this holiday season and we can look forward to the new year with vigor and anticipation as we push towards resolution the outstanding issues which still plague our American horses, both domestic and wild.

By “keeping the faith” we are trotting into a new era for our horses and donkeys…keep up the great works and take a moment to bask in the afterglow of these two great victories.

Thanks to all who work so hard for those who cannot speak for themselves.  You are very special, indeed.


European Union ban threatens US horse slaughter pipeline

John Holland, the president of the Equine Welfare Alliance, examines possible scenarios following the European Union’s ban affecting horsemeat shipments from Mexico. He predicts short-term instability, but believes the US market could not hope for a better set of circumstances to kick on and put the slaughter trade behind it.

The US horse industry was hit with the news this week that it would no longer be able to dump its excess horses to slaughter in Mexico.


EU Close to Banning Horse Meat from Mexico

published by our good friends at HorseTalk

“There are relatively few establishments approved for export of horse meat to the European Union”

Texas to Mexico Slaughter Pipeline ~ photo by Julie Caramante

The European Union (EU) is close to imposing a ban on the import of horse meat from Mexico.

The director of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union Commission, Michael Scannell, revealed that a ban was close when he addressed the recent European Parliament’s Intergroup meeting in Brussels.

He also voiced concerns around some of the serious welfare issues identified around the long-haul transport of horses from the United States to Mexico, saying some animals arrived dead or unable to stand.

He also revealed that stricter conditions would make it harder for Canada to export meat to Europe that was derived from horses imported from the US…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and listen to audio from the meeting

USDA Approves Second Horse Slaughterhouse, But Renews Bid for Ban

Source: Multiple

“The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter,”

photo courtesy of Animal Law

The U.S. government approved a horse slaughter plant in Iowa on Tuesday, its second such move in four days, but it also renewed its appeal to Congress to ban the business and was hit by a lawsuit from animal welfare groups.

In a statement, the U.S. Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a “grant of inspection” to Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, because it met all federal requirements. USDA will also be obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

“The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter,” the USDA said in a statement. “Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law.”

An application from a Missouri company was also expected to win approval this week.

Valley Meats in Roswell, New Mexico, on Friday became the first horse plant to clear the USDA review process since a ban on horse slaughter ended in 2011.

Five animal welfare groups filed suit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to overturn the approvals, saying the Agriculture Department did not conduct environmental reviews before acting. The groups say horses are given medications not approved for livestock so the waste products of slaughter plants may include pollutants.

“America is the original home of the horse and has never been a horse-eating culture,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom, one of the litigants. “Horses have been our companions, fought battles with us, worked sun-up to sundown by our sides … we will not abandon them now.”

Horse meat cannot be sold as food in the United States, but it can be exported. The meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other countries and is sometimes used as feed for zoo animals.

Nearly 159,000 horses were exported from the United States to Canada and Mexico during 2012, most likely for slaughter, officials said.

Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by saying the USDA could not spend any money to inspect the plants. Without USDA inspectors, slaughterhouses cannot operate.

The ban had been extended a year at a time as part of USDA funding bills, but the language was omitted in 2011.

Lawmakers may vote in coming weeks on horse slaughter as part of its work on Agriculture Department funding. In addition, two freestanding bills would ban horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter.

Groups have argued for years whether a ban on slaughter would save horses from an inhumane death or cause owners to abandon animals they no longer want or cannot afford to feed and treat for illness.

It was not known how soon Valley Meats or Responsible Transportation would begin operation. A spokesman for Responsible Transportation was not immediately available for comment.

Responsible Transportation said on its website that there are 90,000 to 100,000 unwanted horses in the United States annually.

“We believe it is our responsibility to restore the value of the horse industry,” it said.

Racetrack Owner Guilty of Laundering Drug Money

Multiple Sources

“It’s about ego. It’s about pride. It’s about winning the horse race at all costs,”

In this Sept. 6, 2010 file photo, owner Jose Trevino Morales, center, acknowledges the crowd as he stood with the trophy after Mr. Piloto won the All American Futurity horse race at Ruidoso Downs, N.M. Prosecutors told a federal jury on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 that Morales, the man they say is the brother of leaders of Mexico’s most blood-soaked criminal organization, used the proceeds from their brothers’ ill-gotten gains to bankroll his horse-racing stable. (AP Photo/The El Paso Times, Rudy Gutierrez)

AUSTIN, Texas — A brother of two top leaders for one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico was convicted Thursday of buying racehorses to hide illegal drug profits.

A federal jury that deliberated for about nine hours over two days found Jose Trevino Morales, 46, guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Trevino faces up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say his older brothers, Miguel Angel and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales, are the leaders of the Zetas, a Nuevo Leon-based organization that has expanded beyond the drug trade to become the biggest criminal group in Mexico.

The verdict represents an important step in curbing the violence and corruption generated by the cartels, said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

“The government was able to show how the corrupting influence of drug cartels has extended into the United States, with cartel bosses using an otherwise legitimate domestic industry to launder proceeds from drug trafficking and other crimes,” Pitman said.

Jose Trevino Morales was one of five defendants in the three-week trial, each charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. Three other defendants also were found guilty. A fifth was found not guilty.

Several other defendants remain at large, including Trevino’s brothers. His wife and daughter have pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Trevino watched silently Thursday as jurors delivered their verdict and were polled to confirm it. Several people in the gallery could be heard crying.

His attorney, David Finn, did not immediately comment afterward. Finn has previously accused the government of prosecuting Trevino and his family with the hope of extracting information about his brothers.

“He’s honest. He’s ethical. He’s frugal. He’s not in the dope business,” Finn said.

But prosecutors accused Trevino of helping run a scheme that went through $16 million in 30 months to buy, train and race horses. Prosecutor Douglas Gardner told jurors at the start of the proceedings that the operation created fake companies and in some instances fixed races. Horse owners, trainers and others crafted bank deposits to mask the drug money being used to fund the operation, Gardner said.

“They hang themselves by their actions,” Gardner said during closing arguments of Trevino and his co-defendants.

Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa, Fernando Solis Garcia and Eusevio Maldonado Huitron also were convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Jesus Maldonado Huitron, Eusevio’s older brother, was found not guilty.

The trial is being held in Austin because federal authorities in Central Texas took the lead in prosecuting the case.

The prosecution witnesses included a founder of the Zetas, Jesús Enrique Rejón Aguilar, known as “El Mamito.” Other witnesses said they helped funnel drug money into the United States.

One witness, imprisoned former Zetas member Mario Cuellar, described Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, believed to be a top cartel leader, as an active participant in the enterprise who kept a listing of the horses’ names and prices on his cellphone.

Finn accused prosecutors of trying to “tar and feather” his client by associating him with his brothers. He declined to call any witnesses.

The horses have been seized and auctioned by the government.

Mike DeGeurin, the attorney for Colorado Cessa, said after the verdict that his client did nothing illegal.

“He bought horses that ended up not in his possession,” DeGeurin said. “Was his intent to help somebody commit a crime? No.”

More than 400 of the horses have been seized and auctioned, and proceeds from the sales have netted the government $9 million, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.