AM Update
8:24 am
Wed June 13, 2012

AM Update: Austin Ties in Zetas Arrests, Millions of Latinos Not Registered to Vote, OKC Wins Game 1

Fourteen Indicted for Alleged Ties to Drug Cartel

A Central Texas grand jury indicted 14 people with alleged ties to the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.  The cartel’s leader, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and two of his brothers were among those indicted.

Federal investigators say the defendants were involved in a money laundering scheme for the cartel involving the horse racing business.

Authorities arrested seven of the indicted individuals on Tuesday. One person was arrested in Austin.

As part of the indictment, officials are seeking assets including cash, equipment, horses and real estate, including land in Bastrop County.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.

Though hours from the Mexican border, this is not Austin's first experience with drug cartel-related problems. As KUT reported in March 2011, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo stated that Central Texas was of strategic importance to international traffickers:

You’ve heard about the Zetas, well I’m here to tell you that they are alive and well and they’re present in Austin, he said.

Impact of Eligible, Unregistered Latino Voters Could Be Significant

More than two million Texas Latinos who are U.S. citizens are not registered to vote.

A new report by the Center for American Progress says the number exceeds the “margin of victory” in the 2008 presidential election in Texas. The same is true for seven other states, mostly in the southwest.

The figure does not include nearly 900,000 legal permanent residents who could also potentially vote in the fall after becoming citizens.

Many see the demographic as untapped resource, although The Texas Tribune reports that it's not clear whether Latinos would favor Democrats over Republicans.

The demographic is often assumed to be loyal to the Democratic Party, but party leaders of both stripes have ramped up their efforts to lure more Hispanics to their side. Republicans say they have begun making inroads among Latinos, as seen in the Texas House, which now has seven lawmakers of Hispanic descent.

Texas has been embroiled in a legal battle over whether it can require voters to produce photo IDs which the Department of Justice believes will have an adverse impact on voter turnout – especially for seniors and minorities.

Oklahoma City Thunder Win Game 1 of NBA Finals

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Miami Heat 105-94 last night, coming back from a 13 point deficit to win Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Several former UT-Austin athletes were part of the action, including Thunder small forward Kevin Durant who scored 36 points in the game – 17 of those in the final quarter. Durant's efforts also helped Oklahoma City beat the San Antonio Spurs in the deciding game of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

Other former UT players involved in the NBA Finals are Royal Ivey, also with the Thunder, and Dexter Pittman, with the Heat.