Los Zetas Cartel Horse Racing Scheme Lands Mexican Businessman in U.S. Prison

Drug Raid Horse Track
AP File Photo/Brett Deering

A Mexican businessman has been sentenced to spend 20 years in a U.S. federal prison after his conviction on charges of money laundering and bribery.

Francisco Antonio Colorado-Cessa (aka “Pancho”), 55, was convicted in December 2015 for conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with proceeds from drug sales by the Los Zetas drug cartel. Colorado-Cessa is the owner of ADT Petroservicios, an oil company based in Mexico that dows business with the Mexican National Oil Company PEMEX, according to a DOJ press statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.

In this money laundering scheme, Colorado-Cessa processed millions of dollars of Los Zetas drug cartel money by purchasing training, breeding, and racing American quarter horses in the United States.

He worked closely with one of the top Zetas cartel leaders, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, (aka Z-42) to make straw purchases and conduct other transactions in the millions of dollars. They would disguise the source of the funds, which were proven to be the proceeds of drug sales.

The U.S. government seized more than 400 quarter horses which were part of the money laundering scheme. One of the horses sold for $1.7 million at an auction in 2013.

In January, Colorado-Cessa was convicted in a separate trial of one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one sustentative count of bribery, by offer or promise, of a public official. He and his conspirators conspired to pay a $1.2 million bribe to a federal judge in an attempt to get a reduced sentence. The DOJ statement said the judge was not involved in the conspiracy.

“Today’s resentencing of Francisco Colorado-Cessa to 20 years in prison is confirmation that the American public is steadfast in their conviction that he was properly found guilty of money laundering and bribery the first time,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge William Cotter, San Antonio Field Office, in a prepared statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Even with a second trial, the jury quickly came to the same conclusion – guilty. IRS Criminal Investigation was proud to be part of the law enforcement team that brought this criminal to justice.”

“The sentence handed down today ends years of litigation, and imposes significant punishment upon the defendant.  The FBI appreciates the hard work and dedication of all the prosecutors and agents who have handled this important case, which demonstrates our collective commitment to protect the United States from the violence and corruption associated with Mexican drug cartels,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.

This investigation, which led to charges being filed in 2013, according to an article written by Breitbart Texas managing director Brandon Darby, was conducted by the FBI, IRS, and the DEA with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter@BobPriceBBTX.