5 men arrested in horse identification tampering probe

Five men have been arrested as part of an investigation into the tampering of identification passports and microchips of horses presented for slaughter.

Gardaí attached to the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) arrested the five individuals, aged between 35 and 55, today, Tuesday, June 30, for the offence of participating in a criminal organisation, contrary to section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006.

The arrests are the latest development in an ongoing operation lead by GNBCI with support from the Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

The five arrested males are currently detained under the provisions of Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007 at Carrick-on-Shannon, Longford and Roscommon Garda Stations.

These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into a number of persons engaged in offences of organised deception and fraudulent practices involving horses presented for slaughter. The investigation has been underway for over a year.

Last June, 2019, Gardaí released a statement saying that GNBCI officers, assisted by officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the FSAI, had carried out planned searches at locations in counties Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Westmeath and Kilkenny. A total of seven sites were searched, including farms.

The search operations were assisted by members of the Criminal Assets Bureau; the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau; and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.