Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Cops seek public health inspector in meat-stealing ring

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

The police are seeking the public's help in identifying a public health inspector who, they believe, has been a key player in facilitating the sale of stolen meat at the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay, where 12 butchers were arrested and more than 1,680 pounds of meat seized and destroyed on Saturday.

"The masterminds have a public-health inspector working with them and so when the meat is stolen, it will be stamped by the individual without inspection. So it automatically becomes legitimised and filters back into the normal scheme of things," Deputy Superintendent of Police Kevin Francis told The Gleaner.

"We haven't had a chance to find out exactly who it is, but the individual who gets the meat always tells them don't worry bout that because him have somebody can stamp the meat," said Francis, who is also the praedial larceny prevention coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

He continued: "We are asking the farmers to assist us by sharing the information [and] by making reports at the police stations so we can act on those reports, furthering the investigations and ensuring that justice is served on their behalf. If they do not want to pass the information directly to the police, they can call 311 - Crime Stop - [and] make the report anonymously. We will receive the information and we will be able to act on it on."

CORRUPTION CHARGE

Francis disclosed that one of the butchers arrested last Saturday in connection with the seizure of 40 pounds of goat meat, 595 pounds of beef, 539 pounds of pork and 109 pounds of assorted meat, including chicken foot, chicken back, cow skin, cow head and cow foot, has been slapped with an additional charge, after allegedly attempting to bribe one of the arresting officers.

He reportedly offered the cop $101,000 to drop the charge in connection with unlawful possession of property and was subsequently slapped with corruption charges.

Saturday's raid, which was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, led to the butchers being also charged under the Public Health as well as the Food and Drugs acts, after a public-health inspector who was part of the team determined that the meat was unfit for human consumption.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com