Slaughterhouse suspects make first court appearance

6 arrested; detectives searching for 2 more people

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Three out of the six men arrested Tuesday in connection with an running illegal slaughterhouses in Loxahatchee have made their first appearance before a judge.

Edgar Bica Jr., 49, was denied bond Wednesday because he was arrested while on probation for previous animal cruelty charges.

The judge granted Jose Reyes, 38, a $10,000 bond, and Monieram Rathibham, 58, was granted a $9,000 bond on Tuesday.

Edgar Bica Sr., 83, Jorge Garcia, 48, and Rafael Ramirez, 50, were also arrested in the sting and detectives said they are still searching for two more people.

Authorities called the raid the largest tactical strike on extreme animal cruelty in U.S. history. They said the men were involved in the underground and illegal slaughter of horses and the illegal sale of their meat for human consumption and for ritualistic sacrifices, and said the meat was sold from Palm Beach County to Miami.

The slaughterhouses that were shut down include Rancho Garcia, 15703 Orange Blvd., G.A. Paso Fino, 14873 Collecting Canal Road, and Medina Farm, 2151 C. Road.

Authorities claim that the men tortured animals at their farms by slitting their throats and letting them choke to death on their blood, skinning animals alive and boiling them alive, among other things.

Authorities said about 750 animals were seized, including goats, pigs, cattle, numerous species of birds, dogs, cats and fighting roosters.

Click here to find out how you can help the surviving animals.

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