BALCH SPRINGS, Texas -- The FBI says Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie — along with several other tracks across the country — were unwitting pawns in a billion dollar drug cartel money-laundering scheme.
Agents claim the cartel tried to hide its money through legitimate horse races in Dallas-Fort Worth and elsewhere. The FBI said the brother of the cartel's leader ran the ring here in North Texas.
The Justice Department served warrants at a residence in Balch Springs early Tuesday morning. That's where the government says Jose Trevino ran a horse racing empire.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department also raided stables in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The home in Balch Springs is in a lower economic area, but federal agents say the ruthless Zeta drug cartel ran a multi-million dollar illegitimate horse racing business to hide their drug money.
Neighbors said federal agents raided the place with what looked like a small army.
“I'm shocked," said one neighbor who asked not to be identified. "I don't know what to say."
Federal agents said Jose Trevino lived in Balch Springs for nearly a decade running things for his brother, Miguel Angel Trevino.
Miguel Trevino is considered one of the most dangerous men in the world, claiming to have killed more than 2,000 people.
Jose Trevino's neighbors, who attend parties at his home, are stunned. One denied ever having seen weapons, drugs, or unusual activities at the residence. "No, only people going in and out of that house was family," a neighbor said.
The Zetas allegedly threatened horse owners with death to get cheap prices on quarter horses which they raced at big ticket parks like Lone Star Park.
One of those horses — Tempting Dash — won a race at Lone Star Park for a purse worth more than $178,000. His initial owner's body was found burned in a car in Mexico.
Jose Trevino was openly accepted in racing circles. He moved his operations just a couple of months ago from Balch Springs to Oklahoma.
A neighbor told News 8 that Trevino said he was moving to a ranch in Oklahoma to breed quarter horses.
Federal agents said the cartel laundered more than $1 million every month. They said shutting this operation down is a big step to halt drug trafficking in North Texas.