Europol reported Sunday that a Dutch citizen is believed to be the head of the horsemeat trading gang and was arrested in Belgium on various charges including crimes against public health and forgery.
The arrests were made throughout Spain in an operation in conjunction with crime-fighting organisation Europol and developed in coordination with several European Union countries including Britain and Belgium following the 2013 food scare.
He has been sought since a scandal in the Republic of Ireland in March 2013 when horsemeat was found in beef burgers.
Officials test for traces of horse DNA in meat samples.
The network was busted by the Spanish Civil Guard in conjunction with Europol in eight countries, including the UK, France, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Other charges brought against those arrested were perverting the course of justice and committing crimes against public health.
The animals came from Portugal and several places in northern Spain, their meat was processed in a specific facility.
Europol does not specify the final destination of the meat corrupt, but it's a safe bet that it is found in products prepared frozen, as was the case in 2013 with Findus.
Ten million burgers were taken off shelves and sales fell by 43pc. As many as 13 European countries were implicated in the scandal.
In 2016, the Guardia Civil's Environmental Protection Service "detected a scam whereby horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as "not suitable for consumption" were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses", Europol said in a release. The meat was then sent to Belgium and later supplied to other parts of Europe.
The spokesman claimed that the organisation changed the identify of the horses by substituting their microchips or falsifying animal passports.
A spokesman said: "As a result of the police operations, several bank accounts and properties have been embargoed and five recently-purchased high-end vehicles seized".