Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zetas Cartel Money Laundering Trial Week 1 Recap

Chivis Martinez and Havana for Borderland Beat

Monday: Drama in the Opening of the Treviño by Chivis Martínez

There were 100 potential jurors comprising the jury pool, from which 15 jurors would be selected in the voir dire process of the José Treviño Morales  trial.
The defendant, dressed in a blue suit, stared at jurors during the process, breaking his stare to write notes. 
José is not wearing the translation headsets that his co-defendants are wearing, an indication that he completely understands the English language.
Tension filled the courtroom in the opening day of the   trial in Austin, Texas.  José is the brother of Miguel Treviño aka Z40, premier leader of the Zetas cartel.  José along with four other defendants is accused with using a race horse operation as a front for money laundering.

Jesús Maldonado Huitrón, Eusebio Maldonado Huitrón, José Treviño Morales, Francisco Colorado Cessa, and Fernando Solís García are the names of the defendants.
Security was evident  outside the courthouse.  Homeland security officers were stationed on the grounds surrounding the facility.
The trial began Monday in federal court with opening statements.  At the close of the trial day, assistant US attorney Douglas Garner notified judge Sam Sparks that a reporter had been spotted reviewing the FBI 302 documents connected to the case.
Alexandra Trevino wedding reception site Adolphus Hotel Dallas
FBI 302 forms are used to summarize interviews.  Garner accused defense attorneys of leaking the documents to the media.  In turn Sparks reprimanded the defense team and issued an order prevented them from speaking to the media.
As it turns out the documents were released to the public last month, in the end Gardner had to give a retraction of sorts as he issued a press release that the incident was a “misunderstanding”
There are some tidbits in response to the defendant’s motions in this 12 page document

This excerpt is a computer communication between Treviño’s daughter Alexandra (alexandratrvb) and her then fiancé , Luis, that was gleaned from the history of Treviño home computer.
She begins:
“Can I tell you something?”
He responds with the name; “The love of my life” click on image to enlarge and read.
The first day concluded jury selection and juror’s instructions.
 Note:  Zulema and Alexandra, the wife and daughter of  José Trevino, were charged in this case  but plead guilty in a plea bargain arrangement.  Zulema was charged in the indictment, with 'conspiracy to launder", Alexandra was charged with "fail to report".  Sources say Alexandra had recently joined the horse operation, working there for a few months before the bust.
 If convicted Zulema faced 20 years, Alexandra 3 years.  They have not been sentenced as of yet but are expected to spend no time incarcerated and will walk with only probation.
José cannot be deported, if he is found guilty and  serves a sentence. Though he was born in Mexico, José became a naturalized American citizen, as did Zulema.  Alexandra was born in the United States. 
 José, Miguel and Omar were brought to the United States as young children, spending their formative years in Dallas.  Either in part or whole the family then moved to the border town of Laredo Texas.  Miguel began his criminal career in Laredo first becoming a go-fer for the Texas gang in Laredo called "Las Tejas"
Tuesday: Opening Arguments and Testimony begins
In his opening argument, federal prosecutor Douglas Gardner, lead prosecutor of the four attorneys comprising the federal team, told jurors the horse racing and breeding operation was a front facilitating the laundering of funds generated by the Los Zetas cartel from criminal activities such as the trafficking of drugs.
Gardner told the jury that Jose was appointed in charge of the money laundering scheme by his brothers, Omar Treviño aka Z42 and Miguel Treviño aka Z40, leaders of Los Zetas.
Gardner described the Zetas as one of the largest, most versatile, and violent criminal organizations in the world.
He continued his argument with an overview of the cartel operation which included “crafted” bank deposits, front businesses that purchased horses and the fixing of horseraces using techniques such as the holding back of horses at the starting gate giving the edge to Zeta horses.
Gardner alleges Mexican businessman, Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa, bought horses for the Zetas through his company, also alleged of being a front company for the Zetas.
The four co-defendants are charged with laundering cartel funds through their personal accounts and purchasing horses for the cartel.
José Treviño defense attorney David Finn asserts that his client is a “genuine horseman” who was targeted by the government because of who his brothers are.  "This isn't some front," Finn said. "It's a legitimate, real business, built on the sweat of my client and his wife."
Mike DeGeurin, Cessa's attorney, said his client's company in Mexico, does not have ties to the Zetas. 

He contends Cessa legitimately invested money in purchasing and breeding horses.  In an appeal to the softhearted, DeGeurin stated that his client operated a horse ranch in Mexico used for therapy by autistic children.
The Attorneys for Solis and Eusevio Maldonado Huitron told jurors their clients were hard-working, honest horse trainers and that there is no evidence they had knowledge that the horse operation had ties to the Zetas..
The attorney of Jesus Maldonado Huitron's elected to exercise his right to make his opening statement subsequent to the prosecution presenting their case.
The first witness in the prosecutor’s case in chief was José Garza, a former Texas state trooper and intelligence analyst with the FBI, who educated jurors of the Zetas and how they operate.
José Vasquez Jr., another witness, testified that he assisted in the transfer of about $900,000 in cartel proceeds, which went towards payment of horses and other horse related expenses. 

He was based out of Dallas and worked for the cartel in the states of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.  Vasquez is currently serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking.
Convicted Piedras Negras cocaine drug trafficker, Mario Alfonso Cuellar testified, he depicted José Treviño as a “good man”, with a genuine love for quarter horses. Cuellar is a government witness.
Cuellar said he learned about José Treviño, through his brother Oscar Omar Treviño.  Omar described his brother as “hardworking” and “humble”, which is how Cuellar says he found the man to be.  Cuellar was the liaison for the Zetas organization and horse racing; it was Cuellar that made Zeta introductions to key members and trainers in horse racing operations in Texas, California and New Mexico.
Cuellar said that José resisted becoming involved in the operation, but finally gave in to the urging of his brothers in 2009, he would later “purchase” 'Tempting Dash' in 2010. 
Looking closely into the ownership history of the horse, directly before the transfer of ownership to José Treviño, the original owner, José Ramiro Villareal, was found murdered in his torched vehicle outside Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. 
Villareal was someone whose horse racing advice Miguel Treviño trusted.  When Miguel decided to begin the operation, it was Villareal that he turned to for purchasing advice.  Villareal is a bit of a horse racing legend, scraping together 10,000 dollars to purchase a racing horse at an auction.  
The horse proved to be a winner, and Villareal was on a successful roll, one that made his name synonymous with having an accurate instinct to spot winners, horses that he would purchase and give names to such as “El Sicario”.  Miguel trusted Villareal, but it was his brother José he wanted to become the in charge man of the operation.
The Villareal fate begins in 2010 ended with an execution ordered  by Miguel Trevino
Miguel genuinely liked Villareal, [at left] but more importantly he kept him close to the vest wanting his respected advice on purchasing.  Miguel called the rounded Villareal, “Gordo". They shared a warm friendship and when that friendship was tested, Miguel gave Gordo two lives.
In 2010 Gordo was stopped at a Texas airport by the DEA.  They grilled Gordo for hours, confiscated his cell phone and ordered him back for a meeting in a couple days.  At the second meeting Gordo’s world was shattered when the DEA told him to choose his fate, prison or become an informant.  He was positioned between a rock and a very hard spot.
Reluctantly he agreed to help the DEA, and what the DEA wanted was Miguel Ángel Treviño.
Gordo fed information that included a race in Nuevo Laredo that Miguel would be at.  The DEA had Mexican authorities to the race; they attended,  but only took photos of Miguel there was not a capture attempt.  That would become Gordo’s death sentence. 

Probably because of his affection for Gordo, he had him picked up and illustrated his possible fate in the wilderness surrounded by sicarios and Miguel Gordo saw a man executed, and thrown in a vat of acid.  Gordo fainted and woke to Miguel’s laughter and slapping of his face.  Miguel asked Gordo “you aren’t going to fuck me are you Gordo?” “No! Of course not papi" Gordo protested.

 It was a few months later that Gordo received the call for a meeting.  He had to have known this was "it".  Why he went is the guess of anyone, but his body was found a couple of days later, nearly completely incinerated requiring DNA testing for a positive identification.  "Tempting Dash" became José' horse.
José Treviño is described as shy and socially awkward, evidenced by his word stumbling in his  interviews with media connected to the horse racing world.  He at first would avoid interviews and reporters, but as he began winning races he became more comfortable with public speaking.
In speaking about Miguel Treviño, Cuellar disclosed that the Zetas leader was an active and interested party to the horse racing operation.  He further stated that Miguel had a list of horses, names and prices on his Blackberry.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Gardner said the Zetas, under the control of Miguel Angel Treviño Morales, have a transnational drug trafficking network stretching through Latin America to South American and north as far as Chicago.  The problem was always getting the large sums of cash back to Mexico. 
               Fernando Solís Garcia
Those profits would again be sent "back up north to be invested into legitimate businesses in the United States,” Garner said. The prosecution said we'll see money traced into the accounts of the defendants via transaction like wire transfers and the payments which are structured to be less than $10,000 each to avoid reporting requirements of the Internal Revenue Service, he said.
Prosecutors say Defendant Colorado used money from his company ADT Petrolservicios to buy quarter horses with solid champion bloodlines at auctions, while Defendant Eusevio “Chevo” Maldonado Huitron, who lives in East Austin and runs a horse training facility in Bastrop County, was paid to train them. The prosecution believes the Huitrons laundered money through their other companies
The first day was about paying for trainers, vets and the like. They hadn't been able to establish the first day that any of the defendants were aware of the money they were earning was anything other than legitimate money. 

"Chevo" Huitron it appears was uninterested in money. He was only interested in his horses, and certainly does not seem to know it was money laundering.
The defense depicts "Chevo" Huitron as illiterate with a sixth grade education, and Jesus had the sense to try to make him solvent with his home building company because Eustebio could only think of horses and  barely kept track of money. 
Little known fact: The hierarchies of Los Zetas all use Blackberries, because it has a privacy mode.  Common belief is they strictly used throw away phones.  Trial information revealed, when the phone is in privacy mode immediately “scrubs” itself clean.
One witness worked under Metro but reported directly to Miguel.  Miguel was trying to kill him in Piedras Negras, knowing this the witness crossed over and was arrested.  He is hoping for a lighter sentence for his cooperation.
Wednesday Witness Testimony Continues Horse Race Fixing
Gerardo Mata Morales Wednesday testified to jurors that at one time he was in charge of the transport of drug profits from San Antonio Texas to Eagle Pass Texas.  Additionally, the witness was in charge of the transporting of funds to New Mexico, where prosecutors allege the money was payment for the fixing of horseraces.
Eagle Pass is the city on the American side of the south border that divides the U.S. and Mexico.  The city of Piedras Negras is on Mexico’s side of the border.  Piedras Negras is a Zetas cartel stronghold.
Mata is an American from Eagle Pass, who admitted since 2004 he shipped the cars from San Antonio and Dallas to the border for Cuellar.
The .witness told the jury he smuggled to Mexico 3M to 4.5M USD per month.  In 2010 he received a new assignment from Cuellar, to travel to New Mexico and deliver 110k USD to a woman.  It says he had no problems making the delivery, and he never knew what the money was for.
Prosecutors contend the money was a payoff for Ruidoso Downs Race Track gatekeepers, to fix specific horse races. 
Prosecutors allege the race fixing was but a part of the broad operation by Zetas leaders to launder money through their brother José Treviño Morales through his horse operations from 2008 to 2012 when he was arrested. 

José maintains his innocence although of the nearly 20 people indicted, most have pled guilty or have fled jurisdiction.
Cuellar testified to the jury on Tuesday about the horse race fixing.  He said Miguel Trevino was very anxious to fix the 2010 All American Futurity favorable to “Mr. Piloto”, a horse with odds at 22-1.  José Treviño owned Mr. Piloto.   Cuellar explained that by holding back a quarter horse by a millisecond, in a race that only lasts 20 seconds, it effects the entire race and gives a great advantage to the favored horse.
Cuellar stated that it was Miguel Treviño so intent on winning the race,  that he more than tripled the bribe the gatekeepers requested.
“They wanted $3,000, and Miguel said, 'No, you're not going to give them $3,000, you're going to give them $10,000,'” he said on the witness stand.
Mr. Piloto won the race and the $1 million purse, the richest prize in quarter-horse racing.
José’ co-defendants are; Francisco Colorado Cessa, a wealthy Mexican businessman whose company contracted for Mexico’s state-owned oil company,  Fernando Solis Garcia, a quarter horse expert, Jesus Maldonado Huitron, a Texas home builder; and his brother, Eusevio Maldonado Huitron, a prominent horse trainer. 
All five defendants say they are innocent of the charges.
Ms. Moore Crane took the stand, she is a book keeper.  Jose Treviño Morales contacted her to set up a LLC for Tremor Enterprises.  He told her he and his wife saved money and bought a horse Tempting Dash, for $25,000, the horse won a major race,  and he needed her to do his 2009 income taxes.
2011 she also set up LLC's for Jose Treviño Morales's Zule Farms and 66 Land.  Zulema (wife of Jose) or Jose would bring receipts and statements monthly to her office. 

When she started the Treviño Morales were making about $70,000 to $80,000 combined, but later they were declaring nearly a million.
Without being a CPA, the witness lacked the confidence and felt inadequate to deal with such large amount of money coming through the accounts.  She testified that she didn't notice any improprieties, it was just larger than she was used to being responsible for and she felt  the Treviños  needed the expertise of a CPA. So, she referred her clients to Alan Price CPA.
Ms Moore-Crane agreed on redirect that there was there was a lot of money going through the account, but they'd won money and were trying to expand the business.
When she saw on television about the Government raid of her client's horse ranch, she was surprised because when she was working with them there was only 9 horses and she heard about 400. She then consulted an attorney. She appeared very frighten on the witness stand.  Continues on next page
Thursday Testimony Continues:
Governor race
Jose Carlos Hinajosa was a law clerk at the Federal Attorney’s office in San Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, before becoming the account for Los Zetas.
         Franciso Colorado Cessa below
He testified Thursday that in 2004-2005, Francisco Colorado Cessa siphoned millions of dollars of drug money that was allocated for the horse racing operation and 12 million dollars to the PRI political party’s gubernatorial campaign in Veracruz.  Though not named, the governor was Fidel Herrera Beltrán.  He denies this to be fact, but the FBI suspected Francisco was giving money to Herrera.

Once the candidate won, the majority of contracts awarded for Pemex and Petróleos Mexicanos was given to ADT, Francisco’s company.  Francisco was the liaison between the governor and a former Zetas leader, probably Heriberto Lazcano who is now deceased.  The gubernatorial victory assured free passage for the Zetas trafficking drugs through Veracruz.
Hinijosa testified that in 2001, when the Zetas were the enforcer wing of the Gulf cartel [CDG], a founding member of the Zetas, Efraín Teodoro “Z-14” Torres, was sent to take  over the Miguel Alemán plaza. “Plaza” refers to a region.  Miguel Alemán is the border city across the Rio Grande from Roma. 
The witness explained; at that time the government controlled the drug trafficking in the state of Tamaulipas, Torres was sent in to gain control.  
The cartel “took over all the plazas in the state of Tamaulipas to control all the drug movement to the United States and to handle all bribery,” he said.  Eventually Torres was sent to Veracruz to capture that state as well.
 Zetas take control
In his testimony Cuellar had testified that by 2007 CDG and the Zetas had taken over Tamaulipas and Veracruz, then proceeded into Coahuila, a state that borders the Big Bend region of Texas.  Cuellar was hiding from US authorities in   Piedras Negras, across the border from Eagle Pass, when he was kidnapped by Omar “El 42” Treviño Morales,  and Jesús Enrique “El Mamito” Rejón Aguilar .
“The Zetas showed up in Piedras Negras and started picking everyone up and started making us work for them,” he testified. “Some were murdered, and they started lining us up so we would work for them.
Objections from defense attorneys were ongoing during Hinajosa’s testimony, they protested the irrelevancy of the testimony.  However, Judge Sam Sparks allowed the testimony in as he instructed the jury to weigh the credibility of the witness and decide for themselves.
The first witness was Hernando Guerra Gonzales, a cattle breeder advisor.  He also bought and sold horses. He wired money for bills for services for horses that Ramirez Villareal put in his name, all the while thinking he was helping his friend of over 25 years who "just had so many clients."  It was never established if he was paid for his time and aggravation.

Hernando Guerra Gonzalez had AQHA certificates of registration signed by Bill Price for Snowy Cartel, Fly Corona.  He opened a bank account at Lone Star Bank in McAllen, Texas with a check from Texas Racing Commission to pay expenses for Ramirez Villareal. Hernando Guerra Gonzalez.
The witness said Ramirez Villareal had every intention of straightening out what he termed “a mistake" but unfortunately, he hadn't a chance to fix the mess,  because  the man died. 

He met Miguel twice for about 30 minutes with Ramirez at a Monterrey stable to discuss blood lines and one other time briefly in 2008.  He had never met Jose.  The witness did not seem to know anything except his very abundant knowledge on quarter horses and cattle.

Hernando Guerra knew some of the other defendants as they are also experts in that field that buy and sell cattle just as he does. He went to the authorities.

High Tech Breeding
Witness Shelyn Bliss [photo above], a DMV, specializing in equine reproduction, has degrees from University of Oklahoma and A&M which has a renowned program specializing in equine embryo transfer. She worked with Jose Treviño Morales and daughter Alejandra very closely on their breeding program. 
Her only criticism was the business was growing too fast with mares used for breeding. They demanded more space because you were never certain what kind of shape they'd arrive. Close quarters make horses prone to fighting, stampeding  and transmitting disease. There was a neighbor William Jessie Pilgrim from Lexington Oklahoma.  He ended up selling his farm to Jose.  Jose needed to expand.  Money was given for a down payment  through Bank of America.  The government halted the final sale.

The DMV met Jose in 2011.  He consulted with her mentor Dr. Barnar at A&M about Tempting Dash's blood born disease and fertility complications. Trevino Morales was ascertaining the possibilities of breeding his prize horse without potentially spreading disease. Bliss an Oklahoma native was referred to Jose Treviño Morales to head up their breeding program.
Alexandra, José and Zulema
The farm in Lexington, Oklahoma wasn't up and ready in the beginning of the DMV's  tenure.  Extensive remodeling was necessary in order to facilitate a top-notch equine breeding program. Alexandra whom she worked closely with was the breeding manager. Zulema worked in the office. Dr. Bliss worked from Jan. 2012 preparing for the breeding season. 
Many recipient mares are necessary for equine embryo transfer. For the mares you need adequate space. She helped design the paddock to specifically mimic those where she previously worked before because they were professional and good.
Bliss noticed that Jose didn't have owners' names on horse medical files   She asked Alexandra to do that.  Alexandra did it for a while but stopped because Jose asked her not to do it.

Friday Testimony
Friday was a half court day. 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Edward O'Dwyer testified that, in July 2011, he began investigating a group of women suspected of cash structuring, a term that includes importing or depositing money in small batches to avoid a law that requires declaring amounts of $10,000 or more.
O'Dwyer testified said the investigation led him to Victor Manuel Lopez, who is among the almost 20 people charged along with the Treviño brothers. Miguel Treviño and Lopez are fugitives.
O'Dwyer continued that  he received a tip from airline in February 2012 that Victor Lopez would be flying from Laredo to Oklahoma City and returning the same day. He asked agents there to be on the lookout for Lopez.
              Jesus Maldonado Huitron
Agent Joshua Schenk testified that when Lopez arrived in Oklahoma City, he walked to a parking garage and spent about four minutes in a truck with José Treviño before returning to the airport to catch his flight back to Laredo.

Oklahoma Police Depart pulled over José Treviño for crossing the center divider. Matt Martin, Oklahoma Police Detective, testified that José Treviño consented to a search of the vehicle and was courteous as he patiently waited in the back of a police car and while being questioned by officers.

No one could find anything out of the ordinary, including the drug-sniffing dog.  Treviño Morales had 5000 dollars cash on his person supposedly to purchase supplies for his horse ranch. 
He later pleaded guilty to the traffic violation, which defense attorney Christie Williams characterized as a "pretext stop."
Police Detective denied under oath of not knowing the term which means stopping a suspect on the pretense of a minor offense with the real objective being to search the vehicle and the occupants.
Witness Jane Eckert an accountant with over 20 years of experience testified in federal court in Austin in the money laundering trial of Los Zetas on Friday.
She worked at Heritage Place,  the famed quarter horse auction house "where champions are sold" from 2008- 2012 and all of 2006. She was office controller and auction manager
Jane Eckert met Ramiro Villareal in 2006, she considered him a buyer/ agent, who bought higher priced horses. She was also familiar with both Carlos Nyan  and Fernando Garcia from the purchasing of quarter horses at many Heritage Place auctions. She thought Carlos Nyan to be Fernando Garcia's boss.
Horses linked to Jose Treviño Morales were paid for from primarily five different companies:
LA Horses-Groupo Aduanero-FF Stables-ADT Petroservicos-Basic Enterprises
The prosecution provided a financial overview of the monetary intricacies of horse auctions as they watched a paper trail from Defendant Fernando Garcia payments for horses bought at auction and paid for by ADT Petroservicios. 

Eckert acknowledged on the stand that it was the co-owner of Heritage Place, Dr. Charles Graham  [at left], also a horse breeding veterinarian, who mentored Jose Treviño Morales in horse breeding. Dr. Graham   A& M graduate A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. is an Elgin, Texas ranch owner/resident who is a known to be a heavy donor to Texas political campaigns.

"The indictments suggest that the Zetas cartel paid the Grahams a small fortune in recent years. In all, Tyler Graham bought more than $1 million worth of horses that ended up in the hands of the Zetas cartel, which made at least $550,000 in payments to the Grahams’ stable, according to trade publications and the indictment."

Tyler Graham, Dr. Charles Graham's, grandson,  a 30 year old agent/ manager at Heritage Place is on their Board of Directors.

The jury watched evidence from the last days of Feb. 2012 and early March of Graham signing off on a series of payments/deposits of $9,900 to Heritage Place’s commercial Bank of  America for horses brought. 
These transactions were followed up with an email with receipts from Fernando saying money was sent from ADT petroservicios. A series of  cash payments under the $10,000 is a red flag for the government as they see it as an indication of structuring. Eckert said she knew this to be the case and Tyler Graham oversaw that. 
The prosecution asked if Eckert knew Tyler Graham was a confidential informant and she said not at the time but she did find out later
Testimony continues tomorrow April 22, 2013
Sources used to write this post: Public Record,  information from: AP, Dallas Morning News, KXAN, My San Antonio, The Scoop Dallas, Laredo Times, Union Jalisco, El Universal, NYT, Sure Bet Racing, Statesman

80 comments:

  1. Great post! this trial is gonna be even more interesting than I thought before it started

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  2. Awesome read, I can't wait until next week!

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  3. Oh he goin down i guarantee it.

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  4. A bit off topic but that marine sounds like a good for nohing mantenido sin verguenza. Seriously, he probably married her due to money. After all soldiers are the biggest welfare queens.

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    1. What a stupid comment.

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  5. Thats not true about soldiers while some u.s soldiers may not be any good the majority of them are honorable and work VERY hard for their money.i know i served 3 yrs in the u.s army and the amount of hrs in a day that you put in for them it ends up being at or less than minium wage.you probably draw food stamps and sit on your ass waiting for a check or youre a professional student just to get money from the gvt

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  6. Oh theyll follow the money trail and get him.after all they couldnt charge al capone with any of the crimes he committed so they got him for income tax evasion.you cant argue with the I.R.S either

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  7. Bb why u guys banning my comments i am not saying nothing bad just the truth but i guess it the truth hurts

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  8. this ones gonna drag...interesting none the less.

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  9. You are all wrong. A soldier is a well trained person and 100% self sufficient. Only about 1or2% of soldiers and veterans don't do well in life. I'm a combat veteran and many men in my family have served and we are all doing good in life, I know thousands of vets all over the USA and they're all good, law abiding citizens. The only welfare queens you know are all men and women in you family. Remember once a soldier, always a soldier. If you want to know what we go thru in combat join the Armed Forces and go. But let me tell you a wimp like you wouldn't even make thru basic training. If you have something useful to post about what the object of this conversation is then send your comment and it will be posted. We are commenting about the Zeta case been discussed in Federal Court in Austin, TX.

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    1. amen to that brother.... I support our troops without them we wouldn't have the freedom we do now...to say what we want and do as we please

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  10. Would love nothing more than to se all of these scumbags getting their heads chopped off.

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  11. The conviction will not be easy. While it is a lot of money that is being moved around from accounts to accounts. I would like to think that all that money was not made by drug trafficking.I do not believe that this cartel had any influence in the racing community and I also don't believe that cartel that Any has any corruption influence in the racing community. Looks to me that the gov't is over-stretching its truths. As always the government can say anything and accuse anybody of anything for any reason. Happens every day and people pay for it with there freedoms.

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    1. It's "their" not "there". . . and if the startup cash was drug money, any resulting profits is drug money. Secondly, I think they are accused of MONEY LAUNDERING and not of MAKING MONEY off of drug trafficking... totally different things. However, both actions result from the drug industry therefore... drug money.

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    2. That may be true that some of the money was made off racing but not even close to all of it.i had an uncle who had a racehorse back in the day when cosa nostra had a stronghold on all kinds of things in the u.s.he was pretty well off then.the horse won a few races and while staying at a hotel at 3 a.m guys in dark suits came to his door and told him if he knew what was good for his family hed get that horse out of town.he packed up went home and got out of that business as it scared the hell out of him.true story honest to god so there are shady characters in that business

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    3. The whole family is guilty...jose was always bragging about fixing the race...alexadra knew what she was doing the whole time and the "honorable" marine knew what he was marrying into.

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  12. I'll take Paola Elena, you guys can have the horses

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    1. I'll take Alexandra Treviño, you guys can have her marine boyfriend.

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  13. Chivis and Havana this is excellent work. This sure makes the trial come to life and very exciting. Thank you both, outstanding job.

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  14. Awesome info, two thumbs up to bb for posting!!!

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  15. Yeah court stuff only guys, so ms arias gonna get death penalty or what?

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  16. So what became of Barragan?

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  17. Lol at his dumb ass daughter. She was ready for all the blood stained riches. I hope she gets life, unfortunately not even Jose will do more than 5.

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    1. Federal sentencing guidelines are different than states guidelines, at least José will get way more than five years.

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  18. Thats how the white man has been evading taxes for years but now a mexican did it they got him out the pie. (cant blame them its thier buisness) plus that mexican won the three bigest races which theyll never due. Why cause they just washing money also too not pay tax.

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    1. Not all white ppl just the rich ones.im poor and still owe them money.its not about color unless its green.i dont like anybodys money that has blood on it i dont care if its from a corporation or a cartel.when you have to take someones life to earn it then the hell with that shit.i will NEVER need money that bad and im pretty damn broke

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  19. AMAZING ARTICLE!!!! Thanks so much for keeping us up with this. I've been combing the internet and finding bits and pieces of it, but it's was amazing to see it all together here.

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  20. I wonder how Z40 and Z42 are following the proceedings of this trial? I'd personally recommend they read this article :)

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  21. It seems like a bunch of people's testimonies are revealing important things about the Zetas that it would have been useful for the police to have found out years ago. Why did they wait until a trial instead of interrogating guys like this earlier?

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  22. I'm still skeptical that Jose Trevino will go away for more than 2-3 years. And especially skeptical that his wife and daughter will go away for any longer than that. What do you guys think?

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  23. @9:55 yeah, none of those involved only in the money laundering stuff will get much time, but that's ok, the important thing is the whole structure being revealed, the additional information about the zetas and CDG, how the money side of their "business" works and hopefully more money laundering operations will be broken down.

    I think it was in February las year, the kingpin act was applied to another man who had been working for zetas/CDG laundering money both in Mexico and the US and his businesses were seized in both countries, first in the US and months later in México, he remains fugitive as far as I know, but the interesting thing is that there were reports coming from the US about this guy as early as 2000 or so yet nothing was done on either side of the border til 2012. Filemón García Ayala is his name. There have to be quite a few like him out there, banks, real state companies, corrupt public officials,...about time more is done attacking that part of the drug business, hit them where it hurts most, more effective than military approach which mostly gets rid of low level bosses and sicarios and fuels the violence that is hurting so many innocents.

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    Replies
    1. Have you seen the news recently about the person you´re talking about?

      Delete
  24. In this trail of Mr. Treviño, were getting the information of the inner workings of the Zetas Cartel directly from the horses mouth - no pun intended. All these associates and ex-Zetas are spilling the beans on the zetas business operations. The corruption and complicity of powerful politicians with the Zetas runa deep in Mexico. Talk about 6 degrees of seperations. From Salinas de Gortari to EPN. Ex-Gov. Herrera is friends with Calderón. Ley there be no doubt of the genious of this evil man Miguel Treviño. The U.S.D.O.J. might have him down, but not out. As far as Mrs. Paola Barragán, didnt she go missing in 2011; and did'nt Mr. Cuéllar go missing along with $8 million of the Zetas money?

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  25. I am new to this blog, I googled trial information, and there is nothing but short fluff articles out there-this one beats all. Whoever Chivis and Havana are they are incredible reporters. This recap belongs on a mainstream news paper.

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  26. OMG!!!!!! I can not believe how you all got side tracked on the whole soldiers on welfare thing!!!!! Focus People!!! How do you think it all went to hell in a hand basket in Mexico???? Denial !!!!! I read posts and tid bits of info on what was going on with the Cartels in Mexico articles here and there while I was in the States I would talk to friends and family members about what I was hearing and all of them would say "I've heard that story before only it was in this town or that town or two heads instead of one" or
    Regardless of the truth behind the rumors that has nothing to do with US (by US they meant people from good families, weathy? maybe but not necessarily, people with principles "Con Education" as we say in Mexico) The comments would invariably read in favor of one cartel or the other or some other nonsense in the beginning that is. Look at Mexico Now! Just this weekend some cartel put out a statement via "Manta" (Banner) That the whole City of Apatzingan in Michoacan should close all buissinisis, factories banks ect ect or else! And they did!! I' ve often seen comments on how is it posible for this type of thing to happen in Mexico ...............Well after what happened in Boston I think we all have a better Idea of how it can happen anywhere!!! And it was two young guys and they didn't even have asault refiles in a city with hundreds of trained FBI agents , police officers, swat teams you name it and they brought the city of Boston to a stand still!!!!! What can you expect of poor little Apatzingan or any a other little town and big metropoly in Mexico!!!!!!! I'ts impotant to note that Dr Charles Graham contributes heavily to political campaigns THIS is how they corrupt and destroy the system the rule of law!!!!!!! This situation in Boston and the ongoing situation in Mexico only reafirms my point of view on BANNING asault refiles ALL together in the US.along with the amunition to use them and DESTROY what ever number of guns that are seized in criminal situations!!!!! Am I going to have to see it happen all over again now here in the USA?

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  27. This is no OJ trial, no BS judge and prosecutor craving to be on TV. These are federal prosecutors and they wont lose. The jury wont be packed with uneducated single welfare moms, either. Sorry dude, the defendants are going to federal prison, fed style, fed time. No Mexican style prison in the federal system - no cell phones, no whores, no short sentence, no early release and no escape. My guess, 7 to 20 depending on the load laundered. Unless they talk later and get their sentence commuted, they are gone for awhile.

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  28. To those commenting that they hope the wife and daughter get prison time, they have already pleaded out to agreements of probation.

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  29. Highest Yoga TantraApril 22, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    2013 ▪ 04 ▪ 22

    It's odd that José Ramiro Villareal «El Gordo» became a DEA informant and led Mexican authorities just to take “photos” of Miguel Treviño «Z40» at a race in Nuevo Laredo in 2010. This was when the CDG and Los Zetas separated, right? My question is why wasn’t «Z40» apprehended? I still question the objectives of DEA/ATF/CIA/PGR/PGJE in this drug war.

    Cheers to Madame Chivis and Havana for a compelling and in-depth, day-by-day account for week 1 . . .

    ¡Bravo!

    /\__/\
    (=';'=)
    (")_(")

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  30. This is legit!! Such a good article. I'd love to learn more about the Trevino brothers.

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  31. @2:46 I was thinking the same thing. Chivis/Havana, any idea why they didn't try to apprehend Z40 when he was right there? Does it really do that much good to take pictures of him?
    Does anyone else have opinions on this?

    And echoing others' comments, this is a great article!! I love reading about the zetas and the Trevinos in particular. This is what interests other people I've talked to the most too. Please do post anything you find out about them , in AND out of this trial.

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  32. April 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM
    "Thats how the white man has been evading taxes for years"
    Another racist Mexican?Go figure that?Who would have thunk it,haha
    Here was me thinking BB didn't publish race shit,its always Mexican

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    Replies
    1. That's bullshit Bro., Down here in the border with México population is 80% Mexican, and everyone sometime has falsified income tax reports to get a bigger refund, so that makes everyone guilty of tax evasion, and I mean everyone, all races not only anglos, the person posting that kind of racist crap is full of shit.

      Delete
    2. Do you know it's a Mexican or are you just assuming bozo?

      Delete
  33. @4:33PM

    Gordo disclosed to the DEA agents that 40 was going to the race in Laredo. Gordo must have thought his ordeal was over because they would apprehend 40. BUT DEA can't apprehend a suspect in a foreign sovereign nation. They instead asked Mexican authorities to capture 40.

    From what I have read, the fact that photos were taken and not even an attempt to detain 40 by the Mexican authorities leads me to think they were state authorities, or police, which in that state are 100% corrupt. They are in bed with narcos. the DEA must have been irate, but I wonder why they did not have a presence there working in an advisory capacity to assure the bust went down. DEA and other agencies know about the pay offs and corruption so it is shocking to me that they did not insist the bust be handled by the feds in conjunction with them.

    I thought also perhaps Gordo had cried wolf a few times before giving information of 40s whereabouts that did not pan out so they took his information with a grain of salt.

    so the question of why he was not apprehended by Mexican authorities should be glaring, but why DEA were not there is the big mystery. that was only 3 years ago.

    I added the Gordo story in depth because Tempting Dash was talked about in testimony and said Jose "purchased" the horse, but that did not tell the backstory, one I admit to obsess a bit over, and one that is rarely addressed. I think it would make an incredible book, or even movie...Paz, Chivis

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  34. Thanks for that Chivis, that definitely answers my question. I wonder what the awkward meeting was like when the Mexican authorities brought the DEA only photos and had to make excuses for not trying to capture him. I wonder also what it was like for Villareal to realize "shoot, this means I still have to deal with this guy". I think if I were in his position I would rather have gone to jail and sought a new life after, rather than risk my life as an informant. I suppose he doubted he'd be killed, and wanted to continue his involvement in the horse business.
    I'm really interested in the point you made about Jose's acquiring Tempting Dash. I don't suppose there's any way to know if it will come up in any more detail in the trial, or if it will be irrelevant to the rest to the evidence.
    And I too have thought many times about their making a book or movie called 'Tremor' down the road...John Goodman could totally play Jose.
    :)

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  35. Ps Here's an article from today's proceedings
    http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/witness-says-zetas-forced-him-to-back-horse-racing/nXTJq/

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  36. It seems like Miguel Trevino really doesn't have any conscience. Is that just kind of the competitive attitude that all drug lords have to have in order to make money, or is he evil like a serial killer?
    I'm seriously curious about this, if anyone had any stories or insights.

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  37. I wish I had a cool nickname like 'Gordo'

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  38. LOVED this article! I'd been scouring the interwebs too trying to find as much info about this trial as I could. You guys did a great job compiling it. Does anyone know what the probation deal that Jose's wife and daughter set up was? I'll be mind blown if Jose gets more than 3 years.
    I wonder how big an impact the information revealed in this trial will have on preventing future money laundering.
    Does anyone know what the rules are about getting testimony from these guys who are now testifying? Like, could the court/police not have asked them for details about inner workings of the zetas years ago??

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  39. @9:00PM
    Goodman? I would cast Demián Bichir


    I forgot an important point. Mexican authorities gave the excuse that attempting a capture may have caused a shootout in a densely populated public place resulting in deaths of innocents.

    Right

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  40. Chivis I'm interested too in what happened with the transfer of Tempting Dash. What's your best guess?

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  41. Ps @9:10 I'm interested too in what people think about Miguel Trevino. I think he's genuinely interested in violence for its own sake, on top of what he does to make his drug trade possible. I think he'd kill innocent kids if he could get away with it.

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  42. Chivis, I suppose Bichir would fit the bill better than Goodman...I'd still cast Rosie O'Donnell as Zulema Trevino...maybe Queen Latifah as her stunt double.
    While their 'too many innocents' argument would be hard to argue with, what were they expecting? That Z40 would be the only one in the stands?

    Ps Javier Bardem to play Z40. And this guy as El Lazca:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benicio_del_Toro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about some Mexican actors. Mario and Fernando Armada, bad ass mofos, also Eleazar Garcia El Chelly, Rosa Gloria Chagoyan Lola la Trailer, Ricky Martin can play El Lazca and Christian Castro or Juan Gabriel can play Z40, Cepillin can play Z42 and Maribel Guardia can play El Taliban.

      Delete
  43. Whats going to happen to the grahams????

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  44. to April 22, 2013 at 1:25 PM Anonymous said...
    This is no OJ trial, no BS judge and prosecutor craving to be on TV. These are federal prosecutors and they wont lose. The jury wont be packed with uneducated single welfare moms, either. Sorry dude, the defendants are going to federal prison, fed style, fed time. No Mexican style prison in the federal system - no cell phones, no whores, no short sentence, no early release and no escape. My guess, 7 to 20 depending on the load laundered. Unless they talk later and get their sentence commuted, they are gone for awhile. "

    I hate to break it to you but you are wrong on many levels...MOney laundering is white collar crime, if they are found guilty even if 7to 20 sentence they will be in minimum security prison. And they have money so yes they will still have cell phones, tablets. And federal prison has early release for good behavior.

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    Replies
    1. Since when? I know alot of ppl personally who went to federal prison for non violent and white collar crimes and they did everyday of their sentences

      Delete
  45. damn 40's niece is hot...

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  46. April 22, 2013 at 9:30 PM
    "Do you know it's a Mexican or are you just assuming bozo"
    You got a bit of a point.Im also assuming you got a big yellow streak down your back?Am i right ugly ass?Did you get your bromhidrosis sorted out?Maybe that's why you got no friends?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lmao! Wow sorry man, but you sound like an idiot .. what in the world are you saying? Hahaha

      Delete
  47. "Thats how the white man has been evading taxes for years". Seriously? I guess the "brown man" never evaded taxes up until now. Taxes and the IRS are color blind.

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    Replies
    1. You got that right.im poor white with no kids to deduct and im still trying to pay them bastards off lol

      Delete
  48. missing the big picture - the big fish is Cuellar. the rancher just happens to be someones brother. do an article on him - i read one last year on his compadres being killed along with the neighbors kid and his brother being displayed in the plaza with a sign from 40 to bring back the money.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "I hate to break it to you but you are wrong on many levels...MOney laundering is white collar crime, if they are found guilty even if 7to 20 sentence they will be in minimum security prison. And they have money so yes they will still have cell phones, tablets. And federal prison has early release for good behavior".

    All but one will go to a so called minimum security prison and he'll go to a maximum reservation for his own safety or as an escape risk. "They" will not have the money, like "they" have now, for phones and tablets, and a fed lock-up is different than a state prison in dealing with communications devices. I know, I know, they can sneak a cell phone in and pull it out of their ass everytime granny calls, big deal, these guys arent going to be running cartel business from a stinky iphone. Fed good behavior credit is miniscule compared to state good time, too. These guys are one turf battle across the river away from being defunded anyway. "They" most likely, will out live their benefactor.

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  50. @ 3:34pm
    Quote:
    "missing the big picture - the big fish is Cuellar. the rancher just happens to be someones brother. do an article on him - i read one last year on his compadres being killed along with the neighbors kid and his brother being displayed in the plaza with a sign from 40 to bring back the money. "

    Do you know how to find that article? I'm interested.

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  51. @ April22, 9:10pm
    "...is he evil like a serial killer?"

    I posted the same question a while ago and I think no one knows for sure, because anyone who knows Z40 is either a Zeta or a corpse, neither of whom give interviews. I get the impression that people exaggerate Z40's evil reputation for effect. I remember hearing that he felt badly about the killing of an innocent American (mistaken identity). It's all speculative, but my guess is he's a self-centered, power-hungry thug who doesn't mind killing his rivals. I don't think he's a sadistic psychopath any more than El Chapo is.

    Thoughts, anyone?

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  52. They ( everybody ) hates on Z-40...why not investigate the cds money laundering schemes. This country is intent on wiping out the Zetas. They don't pursue el chapo .wonder why? Start in California, New Mexico, Arizona etc..all the I.R.S. forensic accountants & F.B.I agents what are waiting for?

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  53. His daughter's somewhat a spoiled brat to the core marrying a marine, wow how very,very spoiled.

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  54. Anyone know the name of Maldonado-Huitron's home building company?
    Any speculation on the status of Cuellars wife? BB (March 26, 2011) reported she was kidnapped, so is she over here in witness protection or still missing?
    Mario Cuellar - any connection to the US House Representive Henry Cuellar?

    By the way, great coverage BB. I've noticed the SA & Laredo newspapers and television stations are covering this better than the Austin ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I don't see anything in the Laredo Morning News or on TV news in the local TV channels. And NO, that guy Cuellar has no blood ties to Representative Henry Cuellar, Mr. Henry Cuellar is the brother of Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, the Cuellar family here in Laredo is a very respected family, a family of professional persons that has nothing to do with criminal organizations. Thanks.

      Delete
  55. Yes Mario Cuellar and Henry Cuellar are related, they are first cousins! Mario also has a brother in the Brownsville McAllen area, he does a lot of Highway construction and gets millions from it. Take a wild guess at how he gets govt. contracts!

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    Replies
    1. You know you are lying, the Cuellar family has roots in Laredo back to the early 1900's, are you from Laredo? or from Colonia Independencia or La Coyotera en Monterrey, México. Your lies can get someone killed , if you are going to comment on something please stick to true facts.

      Delete
  56. ... and the trial is being covered well in Laredo.

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  57. All Zetas are evil, like werewolves hunting sheep and slaughtering anyone in their sights.

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  58. "Your lies can get someone killed , if you are going to comment on something please stick to true facts".
    So we have one yes and one emphatic no. One maybe and one maybe not, one true and one false.

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  59. borderlandbeat has featured cuellar in articles in the past on March 23, 2011, April 2011. for the other articles look on BDN or MN but in those months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing shows and there is no proof of that he is related to Representative Henry Cuellar and his brother Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar.

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  60. lol the only motherfucker who can play Lazca and look exactly like him is David Zepeda

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  61. lol and Gabriel Porras can play Z40

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  62. For April 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    doing time in the Fed is not as easy, even in low security. If you get caught with a Cell Phone, or even an MP3, you get sent to the Boon Docks, far from your family. Whoever told you, about getting time off for good behavior, played you. jajajaja, you don 85% off your Time regardless of good Behavior. If you get caught with contraband, you do 100%
    gamedog!

    ReplyDelete

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