To squash a common misconception, the rash of illegal horse slaughter in South Florida is not the work of some sophisticated mafia. The horse killers- who have been doing their thing for years before the media took notice -- are rarely connected to each other, and they're usually just opportunistic farmers trying to make an extra buck. Like 53-year-old Roberto Aguedo Chavez and 45-year-old Ricardo Olivarez, who allegedly had the misfortune of selling ten pounds of frozen horse meat to an undercover detective in October.
Chavez and his assistant Olivarez lived together in a horse stable located on a farm at 19890 SW 180th Street. The accommodations were "crappy", in the words of a detective involved. Chavez' mother lived in a nearby trailer.
An informant told Miami-Dade cops that the cronies were peddling horse meat. A detective showed up and allegedly paid Chavez fifty bucks for a black plastic bag full of the stuff. Hence the photos of them cuffed in chairs, which come straight from the personal iPhone of a cop who was on the scene. In a freezer, investigators found an additional 240 pounds of horse meat.
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The pair have both been in cuffs before. Olivarez has been nabbed for trespassing and having an open container of booze in a vehicle. At the time of the horse meat sting, Chavez was on probation for the not-at-all-creepy charge of battery on the elderly. He was charged with violating probation and spent three weeks in jail.
Olivarez was charged with unlawful sale of horse meat, a misdemeanor. Cops allowed the assistant to remain a free man so he could care for the farm animals and his boss' mother.
The charges aren't especially serious because cops can't prove that they slaughtered a horse. Chavez claimed that his horse died of colic and they were planning on eating it themselves, says a detective. When the undercover agent showed up offering cash, how could the poor farmers resist?
The detective isn't buying it: "Our source told us that these guys are running a horse meat operation."