MIAMI (CBS4) – A Hialeah laborer accused of slaughtering a horse has been taken into custody.
The investigation which led to the arrest of Juan Martinez-Gonzalez, 44, began May 26th, 2010 when Miami-Dade police received an anonymous tip that several men had shot and slaughtered a horse at a ranch located in the 13-thousand block of NW 182nd Street. Searching the area by air and using police dogs on the ground, officers were unable to find any signs that an animal had been killed.
A short time later police received another anonymous tip that there was a suspicious white van with bloody hand prints on it not far from the ranch they searched earlier in the day. Officers located the van and inside they found several coolers which contained chunks of meat and a bag with horse legs in it. Samples of the meat were sent off to a lab at Florida International University, along with samples of blood and fingerprints from the hand prints. The lab confirmed the meat came from a horse.
The owner of the van, Ramon Clemente, and an acquaintance, Modesto Chavez-Villa, who was traveling with Clemente at the time of the incident, were arrested for loitering and prowling.
The following day police received yet another anonymous tip that a horse carcass had been put in a dumpster at 132nd Avenue and 174th Street. Officers found the carcass and sent samples of meat from it to the lab. In June, test results showed the carcass and the meat from the coolers came for the same animal.
Fingerprints taken at the scene came back to Martinez-Gonzalez. Police spent months tracking him down and arrested him Wednesday.
He’s been charged with two counts of improper disposal of a dead animal and two counts of creating a sanitary nuisance.