Authorities have arrested the suspected butcher at an illegal West Miami-Dade slaughterhouse where pigs destined for Christmas dinner tables were shot, stabbed, beaten with sledgehammers and gutted and boiled while alive.
Yonisley “Pipe” Garcia, 28, was charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty. He made his first appearance in Miami-Dade bond court Wednesday morning.
Garcia “was observed causing bodily harm to animals in a malicious and torturous manner,” according to a Miami-Dade police arrest report.
Garcia’s arrest comes less than a month after the suspected operator of the slaughterhouse, Raul “Freaky” Fernandez, 53, was charged with the same crimes.
Garcia’s arrest is the latest in a string of high-profile animal cruelty cases to be filed in Miami-Dade during the past month.
Last week, pet rescue shelter operator Gisela Tacao was arrested after police say she kept over 200 emaciated and sickly dogs cooped up in “deplorable” conditions inside a small Hialeah warehouse.
Also this month, two fetish models were arrested after Miami-Dade police said they tortured animals — cutting the heads off chickens, beating rabbits, shooting rats — in a series of sex videos shot in South Miami-Dade. Police said the women made the videos as part of a genre of pornography in which viewers get sexual gratification from the torture of animals.
The arrests in the slaughterhouse case were the culmination of an undercover investigation by the private group Animal Recovery Mission. The private investigators, posing as customers, captured the alleged abuse on hidden video just before Christmas, when demand for whole pigs for roasting is high.
Garcia was granted a $35,500 bond and ordered to remain under house arrest.
“He was one the ringleaders of the operation,” said Animal Recovery’s founder, Richard Couto. “He was the money guy and one of the ringleaders. Just a bad, nasty guy. That was really evident to myself and the operators who were undercover with this guy.”
The shocking videos, posted on the group’s website, showed that the animals suffered greatly — some were shot and dragged across the farm with hooks in their mouths as they squealed. Investigators are still looking to identify other men seen killing the pigs in the videos.
The animal rights group had investigated similar allegations at the rural property near the edges of the Everglades in 2009 and 2010. No arrests were made, but the owners were issued code violations and the farm was shut down.
The owners then leased it to Fernandez, who continued to run the operation despite more code violations being levied in November.