Horsemeat Scam Leads to 66 Arrests in Europe
European policing agency Europol has informed that police in Spain has arrested 65 people of an organized gang for selling horsemeat across Europe. As per investigative agencies, the meat was not fit for human consumption. The suspects have been public health violations, money laundering, forgery and animal abuse, among other crimes.
Tests conducted in Ireland in 2013 found that 29 percent horsemeat was found in some products listed as beef. After the fraud was first discovered in Ireland, authorities across Europe started checking local meat supply chains for any anomalies. Police in Spain began their investigation in 2016 after detecting "unusual behavior" in horsemeat markets.
A Dutch national has been arrested in Belgium and authorities suspect that he is the mastermind behind the operation. The horses came from Portugal and Spain and were slaughtered at an unspecified location. The meat was then sent to Belgium and later supplied to other parts of Europe.
In a statement announcing the arrest, Europol said, "They detected a scam whereby horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as 'not suitable for consumption' were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses."
The scammers could have earned €20 million per year from the operations. Investigation agencies will conduct a detailed inquiry and release further details shortly.
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