Miami-Dade police have arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with a spate of horse killings in South Florida.
Luis Miguel Cordero, who turned 18 on September 3, was arrested in a field near Okeechobee Road at 9.50pm on Tuesday (15 September).
He was carrying a duffle bag stuffed with garbage bags, rope, tools and a butcher knife.
He is now being held without bail at the Miami-Dade County jail, and faces multiple charges including conspiracy to commit animal cruelty with intent in injure or kill, armed burglary and killing of a registered breed horse.
His arrest comes a relief to the South Florida’s equestrian community. There have been over 17 horse slaughters this year in Miami-Dade County since January, with two further cases in Broward County.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believes that the horses were victims of a black-market demand for horse-meat, which can be sold for $40 per pound.
Police were alerted to Cordero following a tip off from a neighbour.
According to the police report, Cordero offered the neighbour $2000 to help him in the slaughter of two horses and subsequent sale of the meat.
The neighbour then contacted crime stoppers, who placed a tracking device on his vehicle, and followed him to the pasture when they made the arrest.
Cordero has since confessed to killing a racehorse at a ranch in Miami Garden on 9 September.
Jeanette Jordan, President of the South Florida SPCA, told the Miami Herald: “I’m delighted, so happy, so pleased and so proud that the police have nabbed the guy”
“This typifies what can happen when the community gets involved,” said Capt. Scott Andres, head of the Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol, when speaking to a local paper.
However, police believe that Cordero’s alleged plot to kill horses was isolated, and Miami-Dade police are urging horse-owners to remains alert.
“We are asking people to take appropriate measure to secure their ranches or homes with lighting, tamper-resistant locks and video cameras, and to contact police if they observe anything suspicious,” said a spokesman.
Investigations into the previous killings are remaining open.