Horse meat : a vast traffic in europe has been dismantled

Marco Green
July 17, 2017

The criminal organisation forged the animals' identification by modifying theirs microchips and documentation, Europol alleges.

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.

The suspect was later identified as the ringleader of an operation investigated in 2016 in which horses unfit for human consumption were being killed in two abattoirs in northern Spain and then sent to Belgium after their paperwork and microchips were altered.

Horsemeat was found in beefburgers in Irish and British supermarkets, including four of Tesco's own-brand meat products, in 2013.

In Spain, 65 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation.

During the investigation, Guardia Civil was able to locate the Dutch businessman related to the Irish case of the beef burgers containing horse meat, in Calpe, Alicante.

Investigators searched for the origin of the contamination and tracked it to the Dutch man.

According to Europol, the Dutchman had put "his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam".

The Spanish investigation was launched past year after unusual behaviour was detected in the horse meat market.

The 65 suspects were arrested during a series of raids in Spain and included the alleged ringleader, a Dutch entrepreneur who is being linked directly with a horse meat scam which caused a major beefburger scare in Ireland in 2013.

He was subsequently arrested in Belgium. The police, in coordination with Europol, dismantled an organized crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe unfit for human consumption.

As reported by The Independent, officials have seized the suspects' bank accounts, luxury cars and properties as part of the investigation.

Analysis of samples conducted in The Hague concluded the meat was destined mainly for markets outside Spain, as the samples matched others found overseas.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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