PETALUMA (KRON) — The former co-owner, foreperson, and chief yardperson at a Petaluma meat packing plant are all facing federal charges for allegedly processing and selling condemned meat.
The newly unsealed indictment reveals details first reported in an investigation by KRON 4’s Maureen Kelly focused on the Rancho Feeding Corporation.
In the indictment, co-owner Jesse Amaral Jr, foreperson Felix Sandoval Cabrera, and yardperson Eugene D. Corda are accused of taking cattle purchased at auction that had been condemned by USDA inspectors and selling it to consumers.
Prosecutors say a so-far unindicted co-owner of the facility purchased cattle at auction some of which suffered from a disease known as “cancer eye.”
The indictment alleges Amaral then ordered Cabrera to process the diseased cattle by cutting the “condemned” stamp off the carcasses and selling it.
The defendants are accused of swapping out the heads of healthy cattle for the diseased ones while the USDA inspectors were on lunch breaks.
The indictment also includes mail fraud charges after prosecutors say Rancho told ranchers the cattle they sold had died and charged them a fee even though the slaughterhouse made money off selling the diseased animals.
All three defendants appeared in federal court Monday for a first reading of charges. None of them entered a plea.
The facility closed for months but has since been taken over by the Marin Sun Farms which is not named in this indictment.
Stay tuned to KRON 4, the KRON 4 Mobile App, and KRON4.com for comprehensive coverage of these charges.
Mobile App users click here to view the video
Read the Complete Indictment
(Copyright 2014, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)