The owner of a chameleon horse transporter plead guilty Tuesday and is now facing a new federal sentence that could include no prison time and a fine of less than $25,000.
Dorian Ayache, the owner of Three Angles Farm in Lebanon, Tennessee, was brought to federal court on a long list of charges including continuing to haul horses across the Mexican border even after his company was shut down, destroying evidence, and falsifying log books.
The company came under investigation back in 2012 after two accidents on I-40 occurred within a six month time period. These accidents resulted in overturned trailers, and the death of 4 horses. In the January, 2012 incident: the driver fell asleep behind the wheel, and later claimed that he only had a 30-minute break in a 24-hour time period.
In the second incident (in July of 2012), the Department of Safety placed one of the company’s drivers out of service because the truck had defective brakes, and the driver had allegedly been driving for over 70 hours.
Throughout the investigation, the FMCSA found multiple other safety infractions including operating a truck without a CDL, poorly maintained vehicles, disqualified drivers, falsifying a logbook, and operating with a suspended CDL.
Three Angles Farm driver, Scott York told WSMV-4 that Ayache actively encouraged him to break the law.
“He taught me how to fudge a log book,” he said in an on-cameara interview.
York added that the horses, who were on their way to be slaughtered for human food that is sent overseas, were inhumanely treated on the road, denied food or water, and abused if they tried to lie down.
“He makes you cattle-prod them up,” he said.
Ayache was facing 26 years in federal prison, but if his guiltly plea is accepted, all the charges against him will be dropped except one: failing to maintain a current driver’s log. That would reduce his sentence to only 6 months, or he could end up serving no time at all.
Also charged is the owner of a second company, Theresa Vincent, who allegedly continued operating the closed-down Three Angles Farm under a new name: Teri’s Farm. She is accused of lying to a grand jury, saying she had not had phone contact with Ayache (when allegedly she had).
Vincent is being offered the same sentence, zero to six months, and a fine of less than $25,000.
A federal judge will review both cases and decide whether or not to move forward with the plea bargain. Sentencing is scheduled for November 21.