Published June 13, 2012
The brother of Zetas cartel No. 2 boss Miguel Angel Treviño Morales does not face any charges in Mexico because he is not under investigation for any criminal activities, the Attorney General's Office said.
Jose Treviño Morales and several associates were arrested Tuesday in the United States on suspicion his successful horse breeding operation has been laundering drug money, The New York Times reported.
U.S. federal authorities arrested Jose Treviño Morales and his associates in a massive operation that included raids on his Oklahoma ranch and on the Tremor Enterprises stables in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
"We also do not have plans to request his extradition because this person, in addition to being unknown to us, does not have a criminal record and is not under investigation here for any illicit activities," Mexican AG's office sources told Efe.
It is not unusual for U.S. authorities to find and arrest important Mexican drug traffickers in the United States, analysts and experts on the war on drugs said.
"Many of those arrested, from whom assets, clandestine laboratories and large shipments of drugs are also seized, are totally unknown to Mexico," journalist Jose Reveles said.
Jose Treviño Morales, a legal U.S. resident, used money provided by his brother, also known as "Zeta 40," "Z-40" and "40," to buy the Oklahoma ranch and nearly 300 stud horses and mares, The New York Times said.
Treviño Morales recruited Ramiro Villarreal to locate and purchase horses for the operation, which attracted the attention of U.S. authorities in 2010, when Tremor Enterprises spent more than $1 million of Zetas money for breeding stock, The Times said.
Quarter horses from Tremor Enterprises stables have earned more than $2.5 million at racetracks in the U.S. Southwest.
The Drug Enforcement Administration detained Villarreal and gave him a choice between facing prosecution or acting as an informant against the Treviños.
Villareal was found dead five months after agreeing to work for the DEA.
Los Zetas was founded in 1999 by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," and three other army deserters, all members of an elite special operations unit.
The gang started out as the armed wing of the Gulf cartel, but the two criminal organizations later had a falling out.
After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.
Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization and known for dismembering enemies, has been blamed for several massacres in recent years.
The cartel was accused of staging the Aug. 23, 2010, massacre of 72 migrants, the majority of them from Latin America, at a ranch outside San Fernando, a city in Tamaulipas.
Los Zetas has also been blamed for the massacre of 27 peasants in May 2011 at a ranch in Guatemala's Peten province, which borders Mexico and Belize.
Zetas gunmen set fire to the Casino Royale in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, on Aug. 25, 2011, killing 52 gamblers and employees trapped inside, most of whom died of smoke inhalation.
Miguel Angel Treviño Morales was behind the dumping of 49 dismembered bodies on the side of a highway in northern Mexico in May, The New York Times said.
The same week that the bodies - with their heads, hands and feet hacked off - were dumped in Nuevo Leon state, Jose Treviño Morales was running his horses in a prestigious race in Los Alamitos, near Los Angeles, California, the newspaper said. EFE