Remember the horsemeat in burgers scandal - 66 arrested in Europol swoop


Europol moved against criminal gangs yesterday suspected of trading horse meat unfit for human consumption after an investigation launched after a scandal in Ireland.

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Spain's Guardia Civil arrested 65 people and charged them with crimes that included animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organization, Europol announced Sunday.

They said 65 people have been arrested in Spain alone.

The spokesman explained that officers launched a full-scale probe, called Operation Gazel, after detecting "atypical signs in the horse meat trade" past year.

It found that horses that were in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as "not suitable for consumption" were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses.

The spokesman claimed that the organisation changed the identify of the horses by substituting their microchips or falsifying animal passports.

The network was busted by the Spanish Civil Guard in conjunction with Europol in eight countries, including the UK, France, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

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Police carried out several raids in the north of Spain, blocking or seizing bank accounts and properties as well as confiscating five luxury cars.

Horse DNA was discovered in frozen beef burgers sold in a number of British and Irish supermarkets, including four of Tesco's own-brand meat products, in 2013.

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

Do you something awesome to share with the world? The results concluded that the destination of the horse meat was mainly outside of Spain, due to the fact that the samples in Spain matched those found overseas.

Investigators found the meat to contain the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone.

The police investigation was coordinated by the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil.

Then, the meat was sent to Belgium, one of the biggest trading market of horse meat to the European Union.