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April 20, 2012

Cockfighting and Related Crimes

Cockfighting goes hand in hand with other crimes. Media reports provide accounts of the various criminal activities associated with cockfighting. States with weak cockfighting laws attract cockfighters, who bring with them all kinds of social ills, including:

The following is a sample of recently reported crimes linked to cockfighting.

Homicide

  • April 2012—Three people die and 11 are wounded after a masked gunman opened fire into a crowd at a cockfighting pit in Welasco, Tex. "It was a massacre... This is the first time in my life I've seen something this bad," said a town official. (US News, 4/18/12) 
  • April 2012—Three people die and dozens are wounded after a grenade was thrown into a crowded cock-fighting arena in the southern Philippines. A policeman investigating the scene said, "We suspect that the man lost [money] in previous cock-fights and he wanted to get even." (Updated News, April 14, 2012)
  • March 2012—A 27-year-old man dies after being beaten to death in an apparent robbery attempt at a cockfight in Sacramento, Calif. (Sacramento Bee, 4/1/12)
  • February 2012—A 21-year-old man attending a cockfight at a home in Athens, Tex., dies after being shot on a Sunday morning. (Associated Press, 3/2/12)
  • February 2011—A man iss shot dead and another was injured over cockfighting in Karachi, Pakistan. The shooting occurred when several men began arguing and one drew his pistol, wounding one man and killing another before fleeing the scene. (The International News, 3/2/11)
  • July 2010—One man is found shot to death and another beaten to death over a disagreement over a wager at a cockfight in Livingston, California. (Merced Sun-Star, 8/1/10)
  • June 2010—A construction worker dies after two brothers allegedly mauled him following a heated argument over the decision on the winning cock during an illegal cockfight on a Sunday afternoon in Las Piñas City. (Manila Bulletin, 6/7/10)
  • May 2010—Police in Puerto Rico report four men died in a fight following a strip show at a cockfighting ring. The bodies of three men were found on the street in front of the arena and a fourth, who had been shot in the head, died after being taken to a hospital. (Associated Press, 5/29/2010)
  • March 2010—San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies arrest a Los Angeles man and two teens in the murder of a man who was allegedly raising cockfighting roosters. A sheriff's department spokesperson said, "They believe that it's financially motivated, and it's related to illegal cockfighting."  (The San Bernardino Sun, 3/4/10)
  • March 2009—During a raid on a Calif. cockfighting operation, Fresno County Sherrif Deputy Chris Curtice tells media, "In years past, we have [had] a lot of other crimes associated with cockfights. We've had several murders, shootings, assaults, drug issues, weapons charges. A variety of things come as a result of these cockfights. That's why our department takes it so seriously." (Fresno Bee, 03/07/09)
  • January 2009—Local media report that a spectator at an illegal cockfight in Cebu City in the Philippines was gunned down, reportedly in a drive-by shooting by a man on a motorcycle. (Cebu Daily News, 01/09/09)
  • April 2008—Five men are reportedly hospitalized in serious condition after being stabbed at a cockfight in Valenzuela City in the Philippines, apparently after an argument over gambling. (GMANews.TV, 04/08/08)
  • March 2007—One man is shot to death and another was arrested in an early morning gunfight in Makaha, Hawaii, during what appeared to be a botched robbery of a cockfighting operation. (The Honolulu Advertiser, 03/25/07)
  • January 2007—A Filipino mayor and his deputy are reportedly gunned down, and seven others are injured at a cockfight in San Jose City in the Philippines. (Agence France-Presse, 01/16/07)
  • September 2006—An argument over the outcome of an illegal cockfight in Fort Bend County, Texas, allegedly erupts into gunfire, leaving one man dead and another seriously wounded. (Dallas Morning News, 9/3/06)
  • August 2006—A San Diego, Calif., man surrenders to authorities allegedly in connection with the murder of a fellow cockfight spectator in Good Hope. (The Press-Enterprise, 4/18/06)
  • May 2006—Two men are shot dead at an illegal cockfight in rural Texas. The two murdered men were regulars at cockfights on the farm where they were found dead, according to authorities. (The Monitor, 5/3/06)
  • February 2006—A 24-year-old Sacramento, Calif., man dies from gunshot wounds he allegedly received in a dispute over an illegal rooster fight. (The Sacramento Bee, 2/20/06)

Narcotics

  • May 2011—A three-month investigation resulted in a drug bust and the discovery of a cockfighting ring in New Jersey. Police said they seized crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and cash and discovered a cockfighting ring and roosters in the backyard. (The Daily Journal, 5/8/11)
  • April 2011—Big Island police in Hawaii raided two cockfights and and found 19 dead roosters and four live, uninjured roosters. They also recovered 61.2 grams of dried, processed marijuana buds. (Honolulu Star Advertiser, 4/28/11) 
  • August 2010—A drug task force team led by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department arrests three Gilroy men with ties to a Mexican drug ring at an east Gilroy home. Police seized 300 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and cocaine today worth an estimated $80 million at the property, which is believed to have also been used for cockfighting and dogfighting. (The Gilroy Dispatch, 8/20/10)
  • July 2010—Kentucky State Police cite 63 people for animal cruelty and gambling at a cockfighting raid in Brownsville, where they also seized several weapons, $35,000 and a marijuana growing operation. (Bowling Green Daily News, 7/20/10)
  • Mar. 2010—In a federal drug trial linking many suspects to high-level Mexican drug dealers, one informant reveals that he met drug dealers at cockfights in New Mexico, and that about half the people who went to cockfights were involved in drug trafficking. (El Paso Times, 3/4/10)
  • Nov. 2009—Police bust a cockfighting ring in Earlville, Ill., believing it had been going on for at least five years and generated thousands in illegal cash, some of which was used to fund illegal gun and drug purchases. (News Tribune, 11/22/09)
  • Sept. 2009—An investigation into a cockfighting ring unearths a criminal enterprise in Pierce County, Wash., involving cockfighting, illegal gambling, a marijuana grow operation and meth lab. Stolen cars and automatic weapons also were seized on the property. (KOMO News, 9/19/09)
  • Sept. 2009—During a raid of a Tulare, Calif. drug-trafficking operation allegedly tied to the Mexican drug cartel, authorities find cockfighting implements, in addition to $1.1 million in drugs and over $30K in cash. (Visalia Times-Delta, 9/16/09)
  • March 2009—Indianapolis police arrest three men who allegedly were raising cockfighting roosters, seizing 50 birds and animal-fighting equipment, along with cocaine and marijuana. (Indianapolis Star, 3/25/09)
  • January 2009—While busting an alleged international cockfighting operation in Nipomo, Calif., investigators reported finding cocaine, marijuana and a pound of methamphetamine. (Associated Press, 1/29/09)
  • January 2009—Federal authorities shut down an alleged massive cockfighting outfit in Cumberland County, Tenn., and determined that those involved also were allegedly part of a Mexican drug trafficking cartel. (CBS-5 News Nashville, 1/1/09)  

Children Exposed to Corruption and Violence 

  • May 2011—Child Endangerment charges were levied after deputies with the Kern County, Calif. sheriff's department arrested 12 adults and 2 juveniles during a raid on a cockfight-in-progress. Officials found 18 dead roosters, 25 live roosters and 1 injured rooster with a gaff still attached to one of its legs, as well as fighting rooster paraphernalia. Other charges of those arrested include conspiracy, participation in a cockfight and being a spectator at a cockfight. (KERO23-ABC, 5/8/11)
  • March 2011—A man who was convicted of cockfighting crimes a year earlier is arrested again on second-degree felony charges of indecency with a child. The arrest came after a week-long investigation into allegations that the man had inappropriate sexual contact with an underage girl. (KTRE-abc (Tex.), 3/3/11)]
  • February 2011—Child Protective Services is called to the scene of a cockfight in Smith County, Tenn., after SWAT officers found a 16 year old, 12 year old and 7 year old watching and betting on the fights. [KETK-nbc (Tenn.), 2/22/11]
  • August 2009—Daytona Beach Police arrested a man on charges of child neglect and animal cruelty after serving a warrant for dogfighting. Nine emaciated dogs, allegedly being trained for fighting, were seized from the household, which was in deplorable condition. (WDBO Local News, 8/5/09)
  • May 2009—Federal documents describe a 13-year-old boy, who put two roosters on the ground in Swansea last July to determine if one had any fight left in it. When it didn't, it was "killed by hitting it against a tree," at a cockfighting event attended by at least 60 people, including the boy's father, documents say. (The State, 6/13/09)
  • April 2009—Authorities in Pike County, Miss., arrest 16 people, including 2 juveniles, during a bust of a cockfight in progress. (Associated Press, 3/31/09)
  • March 2009—While busting a cockfight in Ellis County, Tex., sheriff's deputies observed "a lot of children, about 20 juveniles ranging in age from 5 to 12." (KDFW-Dallas, 03/23/09
  • March 2009—Forty-nine people, including two juveniles, were charged in a cockfighting raid in Westmoreland, Tenn. Sumner County Sheriff's officials said children, including an 8-month old baby, were among the spectators. (The Tennessean, 03/11/09) 
  • July 2008—Sheriff's deputies reportedly found 350 participants "including men, women and children of all ages," at a cockfighting event in Marshall County, Ala. Deputies arrested 35 people, with more arrests reported to be pending on cockfighting, drug, gambling and animal cruelty charges. (WAAY-TV, 07/07/08)
  • October 2007—Three children playing near a cockfight in the Philippines were killed after a man reportedly hurled a grenade at a group of people during an argument over the results of an earlier cockfight match. (www.newKerala.com, 10/21/07)
  • April 2007—During what the St. Lucie County, Fla. sheriff deemed one of the largest cockfighting busts ever in the area, 100 roosters were confiscated and 30 arrests were made. Of the 30 arrestees, five were juveniles. (WPBF-TV, 04/09/07)
  • March 2007—State police in La. swooped down on an alleged cockfighting gambling operation in which children were in attendance and cited five men for contributing to the delinquency of juveniles (Shreveport Times, 03/31/07).
  • January 2007—Officers investigating an alleged cockfighting ring in Los Angeles reportedly recovered a large quantity of narcotics, several stolen weapons and a cache of ammunition stored in a child's bedroom (LAPD official blog, 01/18/07).
  • February 2006—A raid on an alleged cockfighting event in Marlboro County, S.C., resulted in 22 arrests, eight of whom were children, on cockfighting charges (Myrtle Beach Sun News, 02/6/06).

Illegal Gambling
 

  • January 2009—In what officers speculate to be part of a multi-state operation, New Mexico's Department of Public Safety announce the arrest of a Valencia County man on charges involving narcotics, extreme animal cruelty and gambling after finding dead and dying roosters, guns, narcotics and gambling ledgers while serving a search warrant at the residence. (Albuquerque Journal, 01/09/09) 
  • January 2009—Sheriffs deputies from Martin and Midland Counties in Texas arrest 83 people in what Martin County Sheriff John Woodward called "the biggest drug and organized crime ring ever in the history of Martin County." Deputies seized 105 fighting roosters, marijuana,cocaine and about $90,000 in suspected betting cash among the 83 that were arrested. (Odessa American, 01/31/09) 
  • March 2008—Sheriff's deputies in Navarro County, Texas, charged nearly 200 people with gambling after they broke up a massive cockfight in progress at a 30-acre property in Corsicana. Later, 196 people pleaded guilty to the gambling charges. (Associated Press, 03/17/08)
  • March 2008—Police arrested 10 people at an alleged cockfight in Honaunau, Hawaii, where they found 40 live and 4 dead birds, along with 4 firearms, drugs and cockfighting paraphernalia. Charges filed included gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of a firearm without a permit. (Honolulu Advertiser, 03/04/08)
  • December 2007—The Otero County Sheriff's Department in N.M. raided an alleged large-scale cockfighting operation, confiscating 144 roosters, more than $22,000 in cash, cockfighting paraphernalia and ledgers that were believed to show evidence of gambling. (Las Cruces Sun-News, 12/24/07)
  • March 2007—After an almost year-long investigation, state police shut down what they deemed the largest cockfighting gambling operation in north La., booking the owner on charges of illegal gambling, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, racketeering and money laundering. (Shreveport Times, 03/31/07)
  • February 2007—A raid of an alleged cockfighting operation in Medina County, Ohio led to charges against the property owner of running a cockfighting operation and operating a gambling house. (Beacon Journal, 02/19/07)
  • January 2007—The operators of the Del Rio cockfighting pit in Tenn. pleaded guilty to charges of felony gambling and sponsoring or exhibiting animals in an animal fighting venture. (Associated Press, 01/23/07)
  • July 2006—A man who held illegal cockfights on his Montgomery County, Ky., farm, where police seized nearly $430,000, was convicted of conspiracy to promote gambling in a plea deal. He had originally been charged with running a criminal syndicate, a Class B felony. (Lexington Herald Leader, 07/28/06)

Public Corruption
 

  • August 2009—Memphis police officers arrest a deputy sherriff at his home on dogfighting charges. Inside the home, officers recover 14 injured and/or emaciated dogs, in addition to dogfighting implements and a blood-stained carpet.    
  • December 2008—Soldiers arrest the deputy police chief of the Mexican resort town of Zihuatanejo and six other officers who were allegedly protecting drug cartel members at a cockfight, according to the Mexican Defense Department. (The Straits Times, 12/26/08)
  • March 2008—Two of four Virginia men indicted in Page County, Va., in an alleged cockfighting operation on 8 felony charges—including alleged sponsorship of a cockfighting venture, operation of an illegal gambling business, bribery of a public official and money laundering—accept a plea bargain to lesser charges. (The Roanoke Times, 03/28/08)
  • February 2007—After the release of video from an undercover investigation into the Sally Gap cockfighting pit in Whitley County, Ky., Sheriff Lawrence Hodge tells the media that his department knew about the pit's existence but did nothing to apply the state's anti-cockfighting law. (Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/10/07)
  • April 2006—Three Honolulu police officers are charged in federal court in a scheme to protect an illegal cockfighting and gambling operation in Waialua. Two of the three later plead guilty. (The Honolulu Advertiser, 04/21/06)
  • June 2005—The FBI indict and convict members of the Cocke County Sheriff's Department in Tenn. on various public corruption charges. The investigation became public when the FBI raided a major cockfighting pit in that county that was being protected by the sheriff's department. (Knoxville News-Sentinel, 06/11/06)
  • May 2005—The mayor of Blue Ridge, Ga., is arrested and charged with misdemeanor gambling after being caught on videotape in the middle of a cockfighting ring. Ga. Bureau of Investigation undercover agents said it marked the third time the mayor had been charged for gambling at cockfights. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 05/06/05)
  • July 2004—S.C. Secretary of Agriculture Charles Sharpe is indicted for taking $10,000 in bribe money from cockfighters and then working to influence the Aiken County sheriff to let them continue with their illegal operation. Sharpe was convicted and sentenced to prison. (The State, 07/30/04) 

Illegal Immigration
 

  • September 2009—At least one of 15 suspects arrested during a raid on an operation run by a Mexican drug cartel in Tulare County, Calif., is an illegal immigrant. During the raid, officers found drugs buried beneath a chicken coop as well as a collectionof cockfighting weapons attached to roosters during cockfights. (Visalia Times-Delta, 09/16/09)
  • February 2009—Martin County, Texas, sheriff's deputies reportedly make 84 arrests at a cockfighting match in progress, with participants originating from Mexico and New Mexico. Of those arrested, 11 were suspected illegal immigrants. (Odessa American, 02/02/09)
  • January 2009—Police in Phoenix arrest six illegal immigrants while investigating a string of robberies and kidnappings at a business where they found weapons, wads of cash and 31 suspected fighting roosters. (Phoenix New Times, 01/26/09)
  • December 2008—An investigation into a possible narcotics operation in Laurens County, S.C., turns up $70,000 worth of narcotics, illegal weapons and roosters thought to be used for cockfighting, as well as one man thought to be in the country illegally. (WYFF-Greenville, 12/05/08)
  • May 2008—Narcotics investigators in Jefferson County, Texas, arrest several illegal immigrants as suspects in a narcotics and cockfighting operation. (KBMT-12, 05/30/08)
  • June 2007—After seizing 350 birds from a suspected cockfighting ring, Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's deputies arrest the property's caretaker, believed to be an illegal immigrant, on suspicion of identity theft and false reporting to law enforcement. (Tucson Citizen, 06/22/07)
  • March 2007—A raid by local, state and federal agents of a large suspected cockfighting event in Montgomery County, Texas, results in the arrests of close to 40 suspected undocumented immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. (KTRK-TV, 03/12/07)
  • January 2007—A raid on a cockfight in Mecklenburg County, Va., leads to the arrest of 145 people, 23 of whom are taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for being in the country illegally. Seven are suspected gang members affiliated with MS-13 and the Mexican Mafia. (Associated Press, 01/22/07)
  • January 2007—A federal jury convicts four men on cockfighting charges stemming from a July 2006 raid on a cockfighting pit in Carnegie, Okla., in which officers arrested and deported 15 illegal immigrants. (Associated Press, 01/29/07)
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