Arrest in Miami over horse butchery

updated September 18, 2009

Police have made an arrest in Miami for horse butchery, and allege the offender was intending to carry out another killing on the evening of his arrest.

However, they warn that the arrest yesterday of Luis Miguel Cordero, 18, of Hialeah, Florida, may relate to an isolated incident and that inquiries into the ongoing slaughter of at least 18 horses in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties since January remain open.

They said they were investigating to determine if Cordero had played a wider part.

The Miami-Dade Police Department, in an announcement today, said the arrest of Cordero was made by its Agricultural Patrol Section detectives.

Investigators said the arrest resulted from a tip received yesterday through Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers indicating "that the subject was planning to slaughter a horse later that evening, for the purpose of selling the meat".

"Detectives conducted an investigation, with the assistance of the Hialeah Police Department, which revealed that the subject [had] conspired to slaughter a horse at a ranch in Northwest Miami-Dade County," the police said.

"While the subject was being interviewed as part of the investigation into this case, he confessed to slaughtering a horse on Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 5400 N.W. 159th Street.

"Detectives advise that these cases appear to be isolated incidents.

"The ongoing investigation into other previously released horse slaughter cases remains open at this time. Investigators will be looking into the possibility that this subject may be connected to those incidents.

Cordero will face charges of conspiracy to commit armed burglary, attempted armed burglary, possession of burglary tools, armed burglary, animal cruelty, intentionally roping the legs of a horse, and killing a registered breed horse.

The killing for which Cordero was arrested occurred in Miami Gardens last week, at the Lazy L Ranch.

The killing drew particular criticism from the South Florida SPCA, which described the gruesome scene discovered by two people who had gone to feed other horses in the stable. One of them was a child.

One report suggested Cordero had killed the horse to sell its meat for $US300.

Reports out of Florida suggest Cordero was arrested following a sting operation.

Authorities were tipped off after he allegedly offered a person money to help him slaughter horses at a property in Okeechobee Road.

Police managed to organise an undercover meeting with Cordero to buy meat and held a conversation, which was recorded.

Cordero was arrested near the Okeechobee Road property on Thursday evening in possession of a bag containing a large knife, rope, tools and plastic bags.

September 17, 2009