Two Take Plea Deal In Tainted Meat Case

A plea deal has been reached in the case of two executives of an Amarillo meat processing plant for selling tainted meat to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The president of West Texas Provisions, Inc., 49-year-old Jeffery Neal Smith, and operations manager of the company, 43-year-old Derrick Martinez,  plead guilty to conspiracy charges Tuesday afternoon.

The two admitted to selling more than 775,000 pounds of uninspected, misbranded or adulterated meat to 32 prison institutions in 18 states.

The company processed whole cow hearts, which are not permitted in ground beef products, and labeled it ground beef.

Court records say the company kept the whole hearts offsite until inspectors left, then processed the hearts on nights and weekends.

The men admitted to keeping the lights off inside the facility while processing the uninspected meat and hiding it in the freezer while inspectors were in the building 

Smith and Martinez face up to five years in prison and will be sentenced at a later date.