A Bedford County-based Mexican rodeo suspected of illegal activity has received a county cease-and-desist order, according to The Shelbyville Times-Gazette.
As The Tennessee Star reported last week, a few county commissioners suspect the Rancho La Herradura in Bell Buckle allows drug deals, prostitution, gambling, and human trafficking, among other things.
The county’s Office of Planning and Zoning issued the cease-and-desist order. County officials said the venue does not qualify for an agricultural exemption from zoning rules, according to The Times-Gazette.
“The facility was a topic of discussion at last week’s meeting of Bedford County Board of Commissioners, with commissioner Greg Vick saying that it has created traffic problems and safety problems as well, and that there are problems with excessive alcohol use at the site,” the paper reported.
Rancho La Herradura Inc. officials said they engage in agricultural activity, specifically agri-tourism, and state laws protect them from zoning restrictions, the paper reported.
“But Planning and Zoning Director Chris White, in his cease-and-desist letter, says that Rancho La Herradura did not board, train or care for any animals on its property, and never built any sort of barn or agricultural facility,” the paper said.
White said “there has been NO activity whatsoever that could be deemed an agricultural operation or even supportive of an agricultural operation.”
Company officials must cease all horse racing, beer sales, commercial activity and commercial group assembly. They may no longer construct new buildings, pending new zoning changes or permits. Every day of continued violation, the paper said, is considered a separate criminal offense.
“The company could appeal White’s decision to Bedford County Board of Zoning Appeals if it chooses to do so,” the paper reported.
Venue officials, as reported, cancelled a horse racing event this weekend because of a recent article we published about them.
As The Star reported, one county commissioner wrote a letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement describing concerns about Rancho La Herradura.
This commissioner has asked that The Star not identify him, at least not now.
The commissioner went on to say an Omar Edgar Torres-Rangel, possibly known as Edgar R. Torres, attended a rodeo there late last month.
Torres-Rangel allegedly drove drunk afterwards and killed a 29-year-old Bedford County woman. Torres-Rangel was reportedly injured. Members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reportedly transported him to Vanderbilt.
As reported, what happened to Torres-Rangel afterwards is unknown. He is no longer a patient at Vanderbilt.
Torres-Rangel is an illegal immigrant, according to sources.
District Attorney Robert Carter, meanwhile, refused to answer when asked if he knows Torres-Rangel’s present location.
For his part, Bedford County Sheriff Austin Swing said Torres-Rangel is not in the county jail.
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