Horsemeat Scam Leads to 66 Arrests in Europe

Xavier Trudeau
Juillet 17, 2017

The crime group modified microchips and documentation.

The arrests were made throughout Spain in an operation in conjunction with crime-fighting organisation Europol and developed in coordination with several European Union countries including Britain and Belgium following the 2013 food scare.

One other person was arrested in Belgium in connection with the investifation.

Tests conducted in Ireland in 2013 found that 29 percent horsemeat was found in some products listed as beef.

A total of 66 individuals were investigated in the year-long sting and now Europol has confirmed that 65 people have been charged with crimes such as "animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health [and] money laundering".

Spanish police have arrested sixty five people in an operation coordinated by Europol who belonged to a network that sold horsemeat as beef.

The spokesman explained that officers launched a full-scale probe, called Operation Gazel, after detecting "atypical signs in the horse meat trade" past year. "From there he led the activities of the organisation, putting his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam".

"The investigation revealed the existence of an organization which acquired horses which were in bad condition and old and not apt for consumption and sacrificed them in two specific slaughter houses", a spokesman for the Civil Guard added.

It said the arrest of the leader of the criminal group was carried out in Belgium.

The Europe-wide investigation eventually led the Guardia Civil to the Dutch businessman, who is said to be "known in the horsemeat world". The police, in coordination with Europol, dismantled an organized crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe unfit for human consumption. The investigators then determined the organization was involved in more countries than Spain. Detectives seized luxury cars, bank accounts and property during the raids.

During the searches at the slaughterhouses and facilities, several samples were taken. The results concluded that the destination of the horse meat was mainly outside of Spain, due to the fact that the samples in Spain matched those found overseas.

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