U.S. arrests of Mexican drug lords reverberate back home

By Jasmin Lopez

Mexican marines escort Eric Jovan Lozano Diaz, alias Cucho, an alleged member of the Zetas drug cartel, in Mexico City. Diaz is allegedly an associate of XXX, who was XXX. (Reuters)

Mexican marines escort Eric Jovan Lozano Diaz, alias Cucho, an alleged associate of Miguel Ángel, a cartel kingpin whose brother was arrested by U.S. authorities on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Mexican newspapers such as La JornadaEl Universal and Milenio have been following a recent exposé in the The New York Times that revealed how Mexican drug lords had infiltrated the American horse racing industry, putting a south-of-the-border perspective on the story.

Coverage in Mexico has focused on how the U.S. disrupted a network of money laundering, beginning a wave of hits to the country’s drug cartel, Los Zetas. Mexico’s role in ongoing investigations and further arrests within Mexico are still being reported.

The Times reported that brothers Miguel Ángel and José Treviño Morales established Tremor Enterprises — a prominent horse breeding operation with ranches throughout the American Southwest — to allegedly launder millions of dollars in drug money. Police arrested Morales, his wife and a host of associates connected with Tremor on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

Fears that the arrests could increase violence prompted the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey and Matamoros to issue emergency alerts to citizens and tourists. Following the warning, the state of Nuevo León declared itself ready for a possible escalation of violence.

Marisela Morales, Mexico’s Attorney General, confirmed that an investigation into the brothers began in Veracruz, and that Mexican authorities have been working closely with the U.S. since April.

Additionally, Juan Francisco Treviño Chavez, who is a nephew of the Treviño Morales brothers, and his cousin Jesus Garcia were arrested in Nuevo León on Tuesday. The Mexican Navy has also announced the capture of the alleged money launderer for Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales in Tamaulipas.

José Treviño Morales and his wife Zulema appeared in federal court in Oklahoma City on Tuesday as the judge unsealed an indictment against the couple, according to Daryl Fields, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

American prosecutors want the brothers to forfeit horses, ranch and equestrian equipment and funds in three bank accounts allegedly used to launder money. They’re also seeking $20 million in fines, the amount allegedly laundered.

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