Spanish police dismantle international horsemeat trading group
The Spanish Guardia Civil, in coordination with Europol, has taken down an organised crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe unfit for human consumption, arresting a total of 66 individuals.
Operation Gazel, which was carried out in coordination with Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, resulted in 65 people being arrested and charged in Spain with crimes including animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation.
Guardia Civil was also able to locate a main suspect, the Dutch businessman related to the initial 2013 Irish case of the beefburgers containing horse meat, in Calpe, Alicante.
His arrest was carried out in Belgium, while different police actions were simultaneously carried out in the aforementioned countries.
Investigators have concluded that the Spanish element of this organisation was a small part of the whole European structure controlled by the Dutch suspect.
During the searches at the slaughterhouses and facilities, several samples were taken, with results concluding that the destination of the horsemeat was mainly outside of Spain, as Spanish samples matched those found abroad.