Generic court photo

Two men pleaded guilty Monday in Victoria federal court to smuggling drugs.

Raul Beltran Jr., 50, and his son, Edward Beltran, 24, both of Rio Grande City, are on bond pending their sentencing hearing set for June 3, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

They each face up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

In January 2013, a Victoria County Sheriff’s Office deputy intercepted about 600 pounds of marijuana concealed in a horse trailer. The trailer also contained two racehorses.

That prompted a lengthy, multiple-agency, multi-jurisdictional investigation that would ultimately uncover that the Beltrans used their horse ranches in Rio Grande City to receive, repackage and conceal marijuana in horse trailers, flatbed trailers and tractor-trailers to ship it north. They used the sport of horse racing to facilitate drug smuggling and to launder illicit proceeds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The organization also used violence, intimidation, bribery and public corruption to facilitate and perpetuate their illicit activities for almost a decade with impunity. The investigation demonstrated the organization’s dealings with ranking members of the Gulf and Zeta cartels and Starr County Chicano Brotherhood as well as the involvement of multiple corrupt sworn peace officers assigned in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Twenty-two people have been convicted as a result of this investigation, including a former Starr County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Three horse ranches as well as an American quarter horse race stallion named “Jet Black Patriot” and his breeding proceeds and awards have also been seized, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for Reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.