Rancho Feed Corp. co-owner, Jesse J. Amaral Jr. and two employees – Felix Sandoval Cabrera and Eugene D. Corda were indicted by a federal grand jury last Thursday for processing beef cattle condemned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector and also processing animals with eye cancer.
According to the court’s records, the indictment charged Amaral, Cabrera and Corda with 11 felony counts including conspiring to distribute adulterated, misbranded and uninspected meat.
The other co-owner, Robert Singleton, was also named in the case. In filings presented Monday in court, U.S. Attorney Office notified U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer that Singleton will be charged separately on a single count of distributing adulterated misbranded and uninspected meat.
As stated in the indictment, Beginning mid to late 2012 and continuing through Jan. 10, 2014, Amaral and Singleton instructed employees to process cattle that have already been condemned by the USDA veterinarians. Additionally, the employees also instructed by Cabrera by order of Amaral to carve “USDA Condemned” stamps out of the cattle carcasses prior to processing.
Furthermore, during the same time period the owners directed Corda and Cabrera to avoid inspection procedures for certain cancer eye cows. During meat inspectors’ lunch break, the federal prosecutors allege Cabrera or another employee switched the heads of the cancer eye cow with healthy cows.
As result, Rancho -between January 2013 and January 2014- processed and distributed the carcasses for human consumption leading to the closure of Rancho Feeding Petaluma plant February 9 and massive recall of 8.7 million pounds of beef processed in the plant last year.
On Monday, Amaral pleaded not guilty while the status of Cabrera and Corda is still pending.