A massive force of federal, state and county agents early Tuesday hit an isolated pocket of West Miami-Dade County suspected to be at the center of Miami's black market in horse flesh, an illicit trade exposed by nearly two dozen grisly horse killings.
It was a major operation, with at least 100 police officers and regulators, from county code enforcers to animal service investigators to state business regulators to federal environmental and food safety inspectors.
``We don't know what is in there. We could have slaughterhouses, illegal dumping. We're targeting every aspect,'' said Charles Danger, director of Miami-Dade County's Building and Neighborhood Compliance Department. The multiagency effort, planned for months, was intended as a crackdown on a string of unlicensed slaughterhouses that have operated openly for decades in a small unincorporated area west of Hialeah Gardens called the C-9 Basin.
``We've been working on this since the first news of the horse slaughters,'' said Danger. ``This is an area that for a long time has needed enforcement action.''
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