NM couple arrested in illegal races sting

November 22, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Following an extensive search by federal and state agents, a husband and wife have been arrested in connection with a horse track that was running illegal races in central New Mexico, authorities announced.

Anselmo Renova, 56, and Susan Renova, 54, were taken into custody near Santa Fe on Wednesday and face commercial gambling charges, [auth] Homeland Security Investigations officials said.

State and federal law enforcement agencies say the Los Lunas residents were operating what was believed to be the largest unregulated track in the state.

The arrests stem from a yearlong undercover investigation into illegal gambling at the site. The operation apparently had been active for years and undercover agents also said they saw alcohol and possibly drugs being sold, according to local and federal authorities.

“As many as 300 to 500 people would gather here for these horse racing events,” Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard told reporters.

Burkhard said the races occurred twice a month, had a fee to get inside and attracted massive crowds.

Kevin Abar, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge for New Mexico, said investigators “used various air units as well and surveillance” during the sting. He said agents are still trying to determine how much money was made from the illegal track.

No phone number was listed for the couple. It was unclear if they had attorneys.

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