HOUSTON (AP) — A half dozen Houston-area law enforcement officers were arrested Saturday for providing security for an illegal horse racing operation that included illicit gambling, authorities said.
The Harris County district attorney's office said in a news release that the six officers along with three others were arrested following an 11-month investigation. All nine are charged with racing without a license, a felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison. They're scheduled to make initial court appearances Monday.
Investigators said the horse racing and gambling were being done at a private ranch featuring a quarter-mile track in Crosby, about 20 miles northeast of Houston. It wasn't immediately clear how much money the gambling was generating.
Terese Buess, head of the Harris County public integrity division, said multiple surveillance operations were conducted over the course of the investigation.
"Peace officers take an oath to uphold the law," she said in a statement. "To discover them actually working in their official capacity to provide security for organized criminal enterprises is extremely alarming and disappointing."
Authorities said the six officers were helping run the operation as part of their security duties.
The arrested officers include a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, two Harris County deputy constables, two Fort Bend County reserve deputy constables and one Maverick County reserve sheriff's deputy.
Harris County district attorney spokesman Jeff McShan said additional arrests may be forthcoming as the investigation continues.