Craigslist and has allegedly been butchering them, according to ARM.
Horse captured on undercover video at G.A Paso Fino Farm prior to Tuesday's raid.
Update October 14, 2015
Palm Beach County authorities raided three illegal slaughterhouses Tuesday. The sting comes after undercover work by the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). It’s founder says the Loxahatchee farms are selling horse meat, which is illegal.
ARM calls the raids the largest tactical strike on extreme animal cruelty operations in U.S. history. More than 700 animals were rescued.
Six people were arrested. Jorge Garcia and Rafael Ramirez, both of Loxahatchee; Edegar Bica, Edgar Bica, and Monieram Rathibhan, all of West Palm Beach; and Jose Reyes who did not have an address. (left to right)
The men were arrested on various counts of animal cruelty including causing cruel death, pain, and suffering. Ramirez is facing an additional charge of selling, buying, possessing, or transporting horse meat without a stamp, jail records show.
Tuesday’s sting was the culmination of a five-month undercover investigation named for each property: “Operation: Rancho Garcia”, “Operation: G.A Paso Fino” and “Operation Medina Farm”.
Richard Couto the ARM founder says he purchased horsemeat cut like steaks during his time undercover. Jorge Garcia is reportedly linked to the black market horse meat trade in Miami. Garcia purchases his horses from animal auctions and
G.A Paso Fino Farm, owned by Orlando Guzman, advertises its training, sales and breeding services. He rents part of the farm to Edgar Bica Sr. and his son. Guzman, the Bicas and an employee of Bica Sr. have reportedly operated an illegal slaughter farm for decades and supply the black market demand for horse meat in the Loxahatchee and greater Wellington areas, ARM says. A puppy mill allegedly calls the property home as well.
The third farm raided was Medina Farm. Undercover video collected by ARM reportedly shows additional criminal acts against animals in the form of inhumane handling, dragging, beating, gutting, boiling, skinning and hoisting of living animals.
Cuoto says the slaughtered horses come from the horse show world, auctions, the racetrack, and Craigslist ads.
All three farms have been shut down, according to ARM.
In Florida, “The Good Horse Slaughter Act” makes it a third-degree felony to buy, sell, transport, kill a horse or posses horse meat for human consumption within the state.
We will bring you more information on this developing story as it becomes available.
Update – Two additional arrests have been made in the case.
The State Attorney’s Office says no evidence was uncovered of horses being slaughtered at the three alleged illegal slaughter farms that were raided last month in Loxahatchee.
ARM’s Founder Richard Couto disputes the claim.
Three workers at one farm have taken plea deals. To continue following this developing story click here.