FBI raids OK ranch where Mexican cartel launders money
LEXINGTON, Okla. — Hundreds of FBI agents raid a home on the 17000 block of 84th St. in Lexington Tuesday morning.
Chelsea Johnson has lived on the block for several years.
“It’s always really quiet. There’s not much activity going on. Everybody knows everybody,” she said.
Except for the new neighbors across the field, who authorities say, happen to be members of the Mexican drug cartel knows as Los Zetas.
A Texas federal grand jury indicted 14 people but seven were arrested Tuesday in simultaneous raids in Lexington and Ruidoso, New Mexico.
According to the FBI, Jose Trevino-Morales, who lives at the home, is a high-profile leader of the organization.
He and his wife Zulema Trevino were arrested in Lexington at the ranch investigators said was used to funnel drug money.
Robert Brown saw all the commotion.
“I came over here this morning and saw vehicles, a lot of vehicles. Typically it’s pretty quiet. When we bought this house we had a couple of break-ins but that’s the only thing,” he said.
But he had no idea the kind of criminal activity officials said is linked to the people living behind those brick walls.
Agents said Trevino-Morales was laundering millions of dollars of drug money through front companies including Zule Farms.
Officials said Trevino-Morales bought, sold and bred quarter horses on property.
News Channel 4 cameras were the only ones rolling when two men were taken into custody.
They were loaded up in a mysterious white van with shaded windows and no decals, then taken away.
“It’s kind of shocking I think because we don’t really pay that much attention to over there,” Chelsea Johnson said.
She and her husband didn’t know about cartel members living a stone’s throw away but they did notice strange activity.
They said they saw cars driving in an out all times of the day and heavy surveillance in the evening.
“Every night there is a security truck that drives around the whole property. They’ll drive around the whole time, you constantly see lights coming down this way all hours of the night,” Shane Johnson said.
Agents carried out boxes of evidence and took pictures of several horses.
They later seized a collection of prize quarter horses, some worth at least $1 million each.
The investigation is on going.