Illegal Horse Meat Sales Result in Two Arrests

Two Miami, Fla., men are facing charges after allegedly selling horse meat to an undercover police officer.

Miami-Dade Police arrested Roberto Chavez and Ricardo Olivarez on Tuesday after the pair allegedly sold the officer 10 pounds of meat for $50 at Chavez's Southwest Miami-Dade Ranch. Both men were initially charged with doing business without a license.

"The county state's attorney will change the charge to selling horsemeat for human consumption," said Miami-Dade Police Public Information Officer Edna Hernandez.

Police do not believe the case is connected to horse poaching incidents still under investigation in Miami-Dade and Miramar counties.

Investigators visited the ranch on a tip that Chavez and his employee Olivarez were selling the meat from an outdoor freezer located on the property. United States Department of Agriculture testing confirmed that the meat derived from a horse.
Florida law allows horse owners to butcher their animals for their own consumption, but prohibits the sale of horse meat to others.

"Chavez has 11 horses on his ranch. Investigators think he was killing his own horses and selling their meat for human consumption," Hernandez said.

Chavez remains at the Dade County jail without bond. Olivarez was charged and released.

No court date has been set.

A $20,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the horse poaching incidents still under investigation. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 305/471-8477 or 866/471-8477.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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