Local News

Cockfighting Raid Results in 145 Arrests

Posted January 22, 2007

— State and local authorities raided a cockfighting pit at a Mecklenburg County farm Sunday afternoon and arrested 145 people, authorities said.

About three-quarters of those arrested are North Carolina residents, authorities said.

North Carolina made cockfighting a felony in 2005. It is a misdemeanor in Virginia, and only then, if it is associated with gambling, authorities said.

Authorities were tipped off to the cockfighting ring early last year and investigated the case for seven months in an operation named "Grit and Steel." The bust happened at a facility in the 2000 block of Redlawn Road.

The Humane Society of the United States, officers from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police and agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture participated in the raid.

More than 126 birds were seized, and others were found dead, scattered around the property. About 10 children were present, including one estimated to be 4 years old, authorities said.

Authorities also seized a large amount of cockfighting paraphernalia, including metal spurs and gaffs; illegal drugs, including cocaine, crack and marijuana; and approximately $40,000 in cash.

Among those arrested, 22 people have been detained by Homeland Security for being in the country illegally; 10 people were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor; and two arrested on charges of identification fraud.

Seven of those arrested were determined to be members of various organized Mexican gangs, Mecklenburg County authorities said.

“By taking down this operation, we hope to send a message to our citizens and anybody from outside our county who thinks they can come here to engage in this criminal pursuit that cockfighters are not welcome,” Mecklenburg County Sheriff Danny R. Fox said in a statement.

“It’s a cruel, illegal activity that acts as magnet for other criminal acts involving weapons, drugs, violence and gambling, and we urge our state legislators to give law enforcement the tough penalties we need to deter this," Fox added.

Lawmakers have introduced a bill in the Virginia legislature to make cockfighting a felony in the state.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • bobcat4141 Jan 22, 2007

    yes ,this cockfighting has gotton to be a big issue in our state.Its not only the fighting going on its gamebling,drugs and weapons. They are also racing horses. Large amount of money is betted on races in the Newton Grove area.I think Mexicans need to go back to their own Country for these activities.

  • raharrison Jan 22, 2007

    I've recently moved from the Triangle to Senator Reynold's district in VA. His proposed bill has gutted the original code that cleanly defines the illegal fighting of animals to the point that if strictly enforced, any farmer whose roosters get into a scrap could be hit with FELONY charges! Likewise, anyone who *innocently* engages in performance activities with or uses certain tools to condition their dogs that also happen to sometimes be associated with *illegal* dog fighters - roading, dryland mushing, weight pull, tread mills - could be facing FELONY charges. This all fits the HSUS agenda - that noble group of folks who run NO animal shelters and instead dedicate themselves to the elimination of animal ownership - but it does NOT cleanly address or do anything to eliminate illegal animal fighting that existing Code wouldn't do. All that was needed was to increase the penalties from Misdemeanor to Felony.

  • lisarich Jan 22, 2007

    So, animal cruelty is ok so long as it's fun and you make money?
    Hmmm... Is it ok with your sense of morals? Your faith?
    Is it kind or isn't it abusive?

  • IHave1-2 Jan 22, 2007

    I agree with you, LJKMWW. I can see where more than 145 people need to be thrown into the pit with cocks and see how they like it!

  • yukonjohn3 Jan 22, 2007

    I agree with clackymcsplatter. We used to go to the Friday night cockfights when I was stationed in the Philippines. It is a HUGE sport there!! Americans these days have a "soft underbelly"!! This is only a symptom of the way people think with their "political correctness". That is what should be outlawed!!

  • 2MuchPork4Just1Fork Jan 22, 2007

    I don't need to hang around the feed store on Saturday to know what kind of people participate in cockfighting. I just have to read these comments. Judging by the poor grammar, misspellings, and disregard for punctuation in the posts on this blog, animal fight enthusiasts aren't just sadistic, they're ignorant, too.

  • dogsrule12cheek Jan 22, 2007

    i think these people shoud be made to stand in a cirle and fight till one comes out a winner what the hell is wrong with these people and that is just as bad as dog fighting put them in the pits as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • narck9 Jan 22, 2007

    I wonder if the roosters were extra crispy or original recipe?

  • RedStatesManWatts Jan 22, 2007

    I bet the Chi-Fil-A cows are really mad about this. Don't damage the product!They ought to make a commercial where the cows raid cockfighting rings!!!Now that sounds like a great Super Bowl commercial!

  • clackymcsplatter Jan 22, 2007

    Ive grew up with cockfighting and i gotta tell ya, Dont knock it ttil youve tried it..Ive made a lot of money and have had a lot of fun with cockfights....3 Gov't agencies investigating this,,, typical waste of our money....time to find something to do than bother these people!