Six men between the ages of 29 and 55 have been arrested and charged with livestock fraud offences passing off faked cashiers cheques to buy livestock which were trucked to unregistered abattoirs. Licensed meat wholesalers who were part of the gang then provided genuine health certificates allowing the meat to be sold in the open market.
Announcing the arrests, Ronda’s Policia Nacional confirmed these are the same men suspected of defrauding farmers in the Serranía de Ronda, readers may remember that Ronda Today broke the story in mid January when we reported 2400 sheep and goats had fraudulently been bought.
The gang has been operational for around Southern Spain for many years, most recently in the Serranía de Ronda, with twelve local farmers confirmed to have lost between 6,000 to 24,000 Euros each.
All of the arrested have been confirmed as being former licensed cattle dealers who knew the procedures for buying and selling livestock, and were able to convince sellers they were legitimate dealers.
The six men arrested are believed to have numerous accomplices, including people currently working within the meat industry. The investigation is ongoing with further arrests expected in the coming weeks. If convicted, all of the six could face as much as ten years behind bars, though local farmers are not expected to have their funds reimbursed.