In Part One of this series I uncovered the background of wealthy urban Rambo Richard Couto who spends his days acting as a fake cop targeting the poor and minorities of Florida in his law enforcement wanna-be fantasies.
A former Blackwater contractor, a private militia that operated in Iraq until it was exposed and disgraced, Couto has no training the proper care of animals or in law enforcement.
He only has a rich man’s ideology of how he thinks the world should operate.
In one of his recent cases targeting the poor and minorities of Florida, he went undercover at several local Florida farms for five months trying to frame the owner, Jorge Garcia, for charges of animal cruelty. Couto made outrageous claims to the media that he found evidence of these farmers boiling animals alive, drowning them in blood, using them in black magic, and other fantasies. He further charged that the owner, Jorge Garcia was illegally slaughtering horses. When he turned his evidence over to the his followers in the media, local authorities investigated. Based upon Couto’s wild claims, Florida authorities raided three farms in a massive law enforcement operation. the problem was, even as the operation was in progress, Couto’s claims of animal abuse were falling to pieces.
As a result of his fraudulent claims against Garcia’s farms, eight men were arrested for operating an “illegal slaughterhouse and selling horse meat,” after 150 armed law enforcement officers, nine SWAT teams, and a bomb squad conducted a massive raid of the three farms. Couto called it, “the largest tactical strike on animal cruelty in the history of the U.S.” Nothing like letting your ego talk. Part of the charges included an allegation that an employee used a dull knife while slaughtering an animal. As if knifes never get dull. All total, officials seized over 750 farm animals that they then had to house, care for, and sell off to the public. Florida taxpayers picked up the tab for that one as well as the high profile law enforcement raid conducted solely upon the word of a private vigilante.
“In a graphic undercover video filmed by ARM, a goat was shown being slaughtered at Garcia’s Ranch. However, WPBF 25 News has learned ARM’s undercover investigators pretended to be customers, and paid for two goats to be slaughtered in front of them so they could record it.”
As is typical with these fanatics, Garcia claims that in fact, the Animal Recovery Mission paid him for the slaughtered goats so that they could film the slaughter and frame him for fraudulent charges of animal cruelty. Couto retorts that buying the goats and paying to watch them be slaughtered is the only way to gain access to a slaughter farm. Of course it is! There are food safety laws against the general public wandering through food processing plants and farms. No yahoo off the street should ever be able to walk through any food processing place they want, let alone this urban yuppie in body armor. That’s one of the ways our food supply is tampered with. The media was also quick to report that neighbors had complained about the noise and smell. As if noise and smell is unusual for a slaughterhouse?
As the case fell to pieces upon examination by real law enforcement, Couto whined to the media that he provided authorities with a solid case on a silver platter but he couldn’t provide an ounce of documented proof of his claims. He provided the media with a copy of a lab report saying a meat sample tested positive as horse meat but there is no word but Couto’s where that sample came from.
“They destroy my reputation, they destroy my name,” Garcia said. “I’ve never killed a horse in my life. I don’t need to kill horses.”
Framing the innocent for crimes they have not committed is a standard tactic of animal rights extremists who are determined to force us all into a vegan diet. Ultimately three employees of Garcia accepted plea deals after they told the court that their methods of slaughtering were standard in the countries they came from. One of the three charged with these false allegations was 83 year old Edegar Bica. He received probation and is banned for life from owning or interacting with an animal. What 83 year old senior citizen has thousands of dollars to hire a defense attorney? Apparently Palm Beach County has nothing better to do than to frighten an 83 year old man into accepting a plea deal. Taxpayers of Palm Beach should be questioning why it took the combined power of 150 law enforcement officers, nine SWAT teams, and a bomb squad to gather enough evidence based upon the word of an uneducated yuppie vigilante to get an elderly man, his son, and a friend to accept a plea deal and probation. Only Bica’s son was sentenced to five months in jail for his alleged crimes. The other two receive probation. If it takes that many officers to process a case, Palm Beach needs to send its officers out for retraining.
As for Couto, he told the media he was baffled that he wasn’t used as the “main witness” in their case. Gee, I wonder why? In Part 3 of this continuing series, I go into the case of another private vigilante and self-styled Animal Cruelty Investigator, Adam Herrera, who inflamed the public with a false story of puppies skinned alive.
Katharine Dokken is a Public Affairs Specialist at The Cavalry Group and the author of two new books, including The Art of Terror: Inside the Animal Rights Movement, available on Amazon.
Follow Katharine and The Cavalry Group on Twitter: @KatharineDokken @TheCavalryGroup