Local News

Four arrested in cockfighting bust in Johnston County

Posted July 25, 2010 1:35 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2010 10:15 p.m. EDT

— Four people were arrested Sunday when authorities busted a cockfighting operation in Selma, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

Deputies found dead chickens and spurs that are typically put on the chickens’ legs for fighting at 1729 Davis Homestead Road. Animal control workers also removed 23 live chickens and three dead chickens from the building.

Juan A. Villarreal, 25, of 1729 Davis Homestead Road in Selma; Victor A. Morales Lopez, 25, of Jacksonville; Emilio Aguilar Carrillo, 17, of 1179 Cleveland Road in Smithfield; and Cuauhtemoc Z. Rodriquez, 33, of 430 Christmas Light Road in Kenly, were charged with cockfighting and conspiracy. They were being held Sunday under separate $20,000 bonds. 

In 2005, the penalty for cockfighting was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony.

The United Gamefowl Breeders Association, a national organization that represents cockfighters nationwide, estimates then that there were more than 3,800 people in the state raising cockfighting birds.

Cockfighting birds are known carriers of avian diseases that threaten agriculture and people.

Bizzell said more arrests in connection with Sunday's bust are possible. The sheriff also said some cars at the cockfighting site had out-of-state license plates.