By Associated Press

BRUSSELS  — Authorities have arrested at the least 66 individuals in a European meals scam which bought horse meat unfit for human consumption.



European Union police coordinating group Europol introduced Sunday that eight nations cooperated in the operation. In Spain, 65 individuals face a sequence of charges referring to public well being, cash laundering and animal abuse.

The operation took a number of months and the chief suspect, a Dutch businessman, was arrested in Belgium in April.

Spain’s Civil Guard stated that the felony ring acquired horses in Spain and Portugal that have been “in poor shape, old, or had been designated ‘not apt for consumption.’” After falsifying paperwork and substituting microchips used to establish the horses, the animals have been slaughtered and the meat shipped to Belgium.

The Civil Guard stated that the earnings from the unlawful meat might attain 20 million euros ($23 million) a yr.

The case was linked to a 2013 scandal when Irish authorities detected beef burgers containing horse meat.

Authorities in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Britain and Spain cooperated in the operation.