Harness trainer Christopher Oakes received a sentence of thirty-six months in prison on March 3, 2022, for his role in the felony drug misbranding and adulteration charges arising from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s investigation of the abuse of animals through the use of performance enhancing drugs and as charged in United States v. Navarro et al., 20 Cr. 160 (MKV). Oakes’s sentence followed the February 24, 2022, sentencing of thoroughbred trainer Marcos Zulueta to a term of thirty-three months in prison, and the guilty plea of harness trainer Rick Dane, Jr. on February 18, 2022. Oakes and Zuleta were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, who will preside over the sentencing of Dand on June 21, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “These three defendants, Christopher Oakes, Marcos Zulueta, and Rick Dane, Jr., each undertook a duty to care for and protect the health and safety of the animals under their control. Each man flagrantly violated that duty in pursuit of purse money. Oakes’s sentence today, like Zulueta’s sentence, reflects the callousness of their crimes, and the gravity with which this Office takes the kind of abuse that each practiced.”