Organised crime gang trading in illegal horsemeat 'dismantled', says Europol

Organised crime gang trading in illegal horsemeat 'dismantled', says Europol

The crime organization is accused of selling low-priced horsemeat as expensive beef.

Some 65 people have been charged in connection with peddling horse meat unfit for human consumption, according to the European police agency Europol, quoted by bTV.

They face charges of animal abuse, documentary falsification, prevarication, crimes against public health, money laundering and belonging to a criminal organisation.

Police carried out several raids in the north of Spain, blocking or seizing bank accounts and properties as well as confiscating five luxury cars. Soon thereafter, tests revealed that meat in ready meals sold in British supermarkets contained up to 100 percent horsemeat.

The operation was coordinated with police in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and Britain.

This isn't the first time horsemeat has been in the headlines.

He has been sought since a scandal in the Republic of Ireland in March 2013 when horsemeat was found in beef burgers.

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

Police say the gang netted more than 20 million euros trading unfit horse meat across the continent.

A Dutch meat trader dubbed "Flash Harry" by his neighbours denied duping customers when the scandal broke in 2013. The product had been incorrectly labeled and exported.

The animals came from Portugal and several places in northern Spain, their meat was processed in a specific facility.

The main suspect in the case was later arrested in Belgium, Europol added.

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 had been leading the criminal network from there, with his cohorts located in all the European countries affected by the meat scam.

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