A pen worker at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. who was to be sentenced this week for his actions in committing egregious animal abuse at the plant has had his sentencing delayed while he talks with federal investigators about the extent to which his supervisors and the company's owners were involved in ongoing abuse.
Daniel Ugarte Navarro, 49, earlier identified as a pen supervisor who now insists he was only a worker, already has told investigators that he worked at Westland for 23 years, and the company always had used forklifts, chains, prods and water hoses to force animals to their feet. He said he would have been fired if he did not follow those procedures.
Navarro's attorney said Navarro agreed to talk with investigators in exchange for immunity from federal charges. He pled guilty in June to two felony counts of animal cruelty and two misdemeanor counts related to illegally moving non-ambulatory animals in a deal with local prosecutors for which he was to be sentenced last week. That sentencing now will be Sept. 24 and likely will be seven months of work release or at-home monitored detention, according to court officials.