AUSTIN, Texas, June 19 (UPI) -- A Texas horse trainer, accused of conspiring to launder money with drug cartel members, was ordered released from jail pending his trial, court papers say.
Government prosecutors argued Eusevio Maldonado Huitron could flee the country or be targeted for retribution if released, and initially appealed the ruling Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andy Austin, but dropped the appeal, the Austin, Texas American-Statesman reported Tuesday.
Huitron, who trains horses at a ranch in Dale, Texas, is one of 15 accused members or associates of the Zetas, a notorious and brutal Mexican drug gang, charged with laundering millions of dollars in drug-dealing profits through the U.S. quarter horse industry, and was arrested in a sweep of suspects eight days ago, the newspaper said.
In court in Austin, Texas, the judge's ruling came at a hearing in which it was suggested Huitron may not have been aware he had been training horses for the cartel.
"All I've heard is that Mr. Huitron was a trainer that was hired by" accused cartel members. "Is there any allegation beyond that?" Judge Austin asked from the bench
"Los Zetas only has blood money, and when they pay that money out to someone who knows that is blood money, then that is conspiracy to commit money laundering," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Fernald, before the judge released Huirton.