Farms searched in Garda horsemeat export probe

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, assisted by officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), conducted a number of searches at farms and other businesses today, Thursday, June 6.

The searches were carried out as part of an investigation into “fraudulent practices” relating to the tampering of identification passports and microchips of horses presented for slaughter.

Seven sites were targeted in the raid, including farms, houses and a commercial premises.

The searches took place in counties Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Westmeath and Kilkenny.

The investigation was aimed at “offences of deception” pursuant to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud) Offences Act, 2001.

This operation was led by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which was supported by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau; the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau; and Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau.

The Gardaí have said that they will not be commenting further on this issue as it is a “search and evidence gathering phase of an ongoing investigation”.

The department confirmed to AgriLand that its officials also took part in the probe, and that the investigation is aimed at horse identification tampering.

The department said that, as the investigation is ongoing, it would not be making further comments on this issue.

In a statement the FSAI) said: “As this is an ongoing investigation, the FSAI is not in a position to provide further comment at this time.”