A Florida man is facing multiple charges after being arrested for selling horsemeat to undercover law enforcement officers at his Miami-Dade farm.
Since 2009, the remains of more than 20 horses butchered for meat have been discovered Florida. In some cultures, horsemeat is considered a delicacy and it is also seen as an iron-rich treatment for various maladies. However, there are no facilities in the United States licensed to slaughter horses or to process their meat for human consumption.
In a written statement, Miami-Dade County State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said a confidential informant contacted the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) to report the address of a farm where illegal horsemeat sales were taking place. On Nov. 10, an undercover MDPD detective and another investigator allegedly visited the location and purchased 20 pounds of horsemeat valued at $140 from Manuel Coto-Martinez, 70, on the pretext that the meat was intended to be eaten by their anemic child.
The frozen meat was “not clearly stamped, marked, and described as horse meat for human consumption,” the MDPD said. In addition, investigators said the meat and was “not acquired from a licensed slaughterhouse,” Fernandez Rundle’s statement said.
Following the purchase, the package of meat was sent to the USDA laboratory where it was determined to be horsemeat.
Coto-Martinez was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of unlawful sale of horsemeat and one count of unlawful use of a two-way communication. Both charges are third degree felonies, the statement said.
Rundle said the investigation repre