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Cartel money laundering case to begin in Texas

Michael Brick, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Prosecutors in Texas are set to open their case against leaders of a violent cartel accused of buying racehorses to hide illegal drug profits.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has ordered jury selection to begin Monday in Austin.

The case centers on Jose Trevino Morales, a brother of two top leaders of Los Zetas. The Nuevo Leon-based organization has expanded beyond the drug trade to become the biggest criminal group in Mexico.

Prosecutors say Morales oversaw the purchase of hundreds of quarter horses at a ranch in Oklahoma. He's charged with conspiracy to launder drug money in a case with more than a dozen other defendants.

Morales' wife and daughter pleaded guilty to lesser charges. His brothers remain at large.

The horses have been seized and auctioned by the government.