|Carlos Miguel Nayen Borbolla-Number 5|
Weapons and cash were smuggled south into Mexico, while the group moved drugs north across the border to the United States, using proceeds to buy automobiles, houses, jewelry and other valuable assets, according to an indictment transferred last month to a federal court in Austin under the Western District of Texas.
The case, the majority of which remains sealed, was filed last year in an Eastern District of Texas court, a month before another indictment, handed up by a Central Texas grand jury in May, listed Nayen among suspects who helped buy, train and race horses under companies used to launder money for members of the violent Zetas cartel.
Benefiting from the horse industry scheme, court records show, were Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, believed to be the highest and most feared leaders of the Mexican criminal organization, and his two brothers, Oscar Omar and Jose Treviño Morales.
Nayen and Jose Treviño were among more than a dozen people arrested last summer in a series of raids at homes and ranches across the Southwest. The two other Treviño brothers haven’t been caught.
The original indictment against Nayen shows he was responsible for making payments for the care and upkeep of the quarter horses using bulk currency, wire transfers and other forms of financing from Mexico. He also arranged for more than $500,000 in payments when Jose Treviño sold a variety of horses, including one named Number One Cartel and another named Forty Force.
Government officials said the extent of Nayen’s involvement became more apparent as the investigation continued. The case later filed against him was brought to the Austin division to be handled with the trial, said Special Agent Mike Lemoine, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division.
“These are ongoing investigations,” Lemoine said. “They don’t stop after the first indictment. We continue to investigate the individuals and the organizations to make sure we are taking out the entire group of alleged criminals.”
But Lemoine and officials with the DEA, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office couldn’t provide comment on specifics as prosecution is pending. Nayen’s attorney, Frank Rubio, based in Miami, also declined to comment.
Nayen, known as “Carlito” or “Pilotos,” is listed as number 21 on the additional indictment, which appears to charge about 40 people, all whose names have been redacted.
The records show that from about January 2007 to April 2012, Nayen and others bought and transported guns, magazines, and ammunition to the North Texas trafficking organization, which would then smuggle the weapons into Mexico.
In one occasion on March 6, 2010, a member of the criminal group moved 37 firearms and ammunition that were purchased at a gun show, while a month later another suspect transported 28 firearms and ammunition in a truck and trailer, the records said.
In Maverick County, members of the group were found to have owned 47 rifles in June 2010 and about 23 rifles in August of that year, some of which had serial numbers that were destroyed, and the collection included AK-47s and AR-15s, the filings said. Law enforcement officials discovered one suspect who had on him five .223-caliber rifles, $5,900 in cash and a bulletproof vest, the records said.
The criminal group also moved drugs and more than $1 million from from January 2007 to April 2012, funneling the goods to and from Mexico across Dallas, Fort Worth, Rowlett, Hillsboro and other North Texas cities, according to the filings.
In October 2010 in Mesquite, law enforcement officials said two of the defendants had about 287 kilograms of cocaine, 14 pounds of methamphetamine, 95 pounds of marijuana, 5 pounds of crack and about $412,000 in cash. The cocaine was delivered to Plano, while the currency was prepared for transportation back to Mexico, the filings said.
Court records show federal agents found that one of the suspects kept more than $50,000 in cash and $370,000 worth of jewelry hidden in two safe-deposit boxes in February 2011, while another that year in Rowlett stuffed more than $1.7 million in four bags left in the back of a vehicle.
U.S. government lawyers, said one of the persons included in a taped call is now dead, according to documents.
"If my client is guilty of anything, is to be the brother of two suspects," said Finn, a former criminal judge in Dallas County and former federal prosecutor in Dallas/Fort Worth. "If he is guilty of anything, is being a little naive."
Judge Sparks said Los Zetas have become the biggest cartel in Mexico, operating in many countries. The five defendants are accused of buying racehorses to hide the cartel's illegal drug profits. Prosecutors say Morales disguised the drug money profits through the purchase of racehorses at a ranch in Oklahoma. He has been charged with conspiracy in federal court in Texas.
Morales' wife and daughter have pleaded guilty to lesser charges. His brothers remain at large. Judge Sparks, asked members of the large jury pool to stand if they were not available for three possibly four weeks. He stated Texas was not like California who could stretch trials for months.
Jury Selective continued throughout the first day
federal court — is one of the largest money laundering investigations ever to be prosecuted in Central Texas and could provide a window into the inner workings of a dark and deadly business. But authorities say it also is only one example of a new norm.
Authorities now know of at least six cartels, including the Zetas, operating in Austin, up from four identified in 2011. They also know the area has long served as one of the traffickers’ prime “transfer zones,” sitting on a cluster of major arteries and corridors, including Interstate 35, which stretches from Laredo to Minnesota.
Borderland Beat Jose Trevino: Trial Begins with US Asking for 60 Million Z-40, Z-42 and Jose
Borderland Beat Los Zeta's Racehorses Auctioned off