Cordero Sentenced in Florida Horse Poaching Case

A Florida man, Luis Miguel Cordero, was sentenced on Feb. 1 to serve four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to poaching two horses and butchering them for their meat.

In September 2009, Miami-Dade County law enforcement authorities arrested Santiago Cabrera in connection with a July 2009 incident involving a horse discovered dead in a pasture near its stables that was apparently butchered for its meat. Cabrera later confessed to taking part in a similar killing in Miami Gardens.

Miami-Dade County law enforcement authorities also arrested Cordero in September 2009 as he attempted to poach two horses located in the pasture of a Northwest Miami-Dade County ranch. Cordero later confessed to the Miami Gardens incident. The killings were two among 20 similar horse poaching incidents that took place in Miami-Dade County and Miramar, Fla., in 2009.

Both Cordero and Cabrera were later each charged with multiple felonies including killing a registered breed horse, armed burglary, and animal cruelty in connection with the killings.

Cabrera pleaded to the charges against him. On Dec. 17, 2010, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel sentenced him to five years in prison in connection with the incidents.

On Feb. 1 Cordero pleaded guilty to poaching and butchering the horses under a plea deal. Zabel sentenced him to four years in prison. He could face deportation to Mexico after his sentence is served.

Miami-Dade State's Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith, said Cordero received a shorter sentence because Cabrera was the organizer of the crime.

"In other words, Cabrera had greater culpability and received greater punishment," Griffith said.

Cordero's attorney Zena Duncan was unavailable for comment.

Jeanette Jordan, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals send the sentence represented a warning to other would-be poachers in the state.

"We have sent a clear message to would-be horse slaughterers: slaughter a horse in Florida and you will go to jail," Jordan said.

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