ALLEGED ZETAS CARTEL MONEY LAUNDERER SCHEDULE TODAY TO START RETRIAL IN TEXAS
Francisco Colorado (aka: Pancho)
Jury selection begins Monday in the retrial of Mexican businessman Francisco “Pancho” Colorado, charged with funnelling the drug proceeds of the Zetas drug cartel through the U.S. quarter horse industry. Here are five things to know about the case:
- Colorado was one of four businessmen convicted in May 2013 of laundering money for one of the deadliest criminal organizations in Mexico. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison that September. Prosecutors said the defendants used front businesses to race, train and breed U.S. quarter horses, co-mingling legitimate funds and expenses with drug proceeds from the Zetas.
- Colorado had his conviction overturned this year by the 5th Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals because of insufficient evidence. He has told the American-Statesman the Zetas forced him to cooperate and threatened him with his life.
- In his home state of Veracruz, Colorado was the founder of the prosperous oilfield cleanup company, ADT Petroservicios, and the owner of some of the fastest American quarter horses in the United States. But in his first trial, prosecutors said Colorado used money from a Zetas leader to build up his business and was swept up into the scheme over debts he owed.
- Colorado was among nearly 20 people arrested in the summer of 2012 across Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The case was the largest money laundering case ever prosecuted in Central Texas.
- Colorado also faces a pending federal bribery charge. Along with his son and business associate, Colorado pleaded guilty last year to attempting to offer more than $1 million to a federal judge in Austin, in hopes of securing a lesser sentence on the money laundering case. The 5th Circuit overturned Colorado’s conviction in September, finding that he should have been allowed to rescind his guilty plea as he requested before his sentencing.
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