Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Big meth bust exposes cockfighting ring 

April 11, 2008 - KOMO News

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. -- Dozens of animals have fallen victim to the same group accused of trafficking methamphetamine into the state from Mexico. Investigators uncovered a cockfighting ring at a home near Lacey on Friday.

Thurston County Animal Services found 22 adult roosters bearing terrible scars. "The eyes were poked out on several of them, making them blind," said Erika Ellenbecker, a county humane officer. They also found hens and chicks that had reportedly been bred behind the home for cockfighting. Several goats were also found on the property. It is unclear whether the actual cockfights took place on the property as well.

Animal Services euthanized all 22 roosters. Some were said to be too injured to survive while others were too aggressive to be rehabilitated. "The ones that lose usually are killed on the spot. Winners are put back in a coop somewhere, most of the time without proper veterinary attention," said Ellenbecker.

The home where the roosters were found which was the same house that was raided earlier this month after federal agents discovered it was the distribution point for a methamphetamine pipeline tied to the Barragan family in Mexico. Investigators said the Mexico-based group was one of biggest drug rings operating in Washington state, smuggling in an unusually pure and highly addictive form of meth.

The bargain drug cartel allegedly moved 200 pounds meth into the U.S. each month, about half for sale in Washington state and the rest for distribution in Wisconsin and Georgia. The Thurston County property owners were among the 22 who were arrested during the federal agents' sweep.

After the arrests, the property owners' family members cared for the roosters, investigators said. But their care eventually ended, and the animals were left to starve. "I think it is pretty sickening," Ellenbecker said.

Investigators said some of the roosters found at the home were forced to fight in Chehalis, where another cockfighting ring was recently busted. Officials are working to find new homes for the rescued hens, chicks and goats.  

April 11, 2008 - The Associated Press

CENTRALIA, Wash. (AP) - A Centralia man charged with cockfighting has pleaded not guilty. Thirty-eight-year-old Roberto Trejo-Magallanes was arrested Sunday after police found bloody, dead and dying roosters in his yard.

A woman walking her dog Sunday saw what looked like two males holding roosters and shoving them toward each other, but when officers arrived, five or six individuals who had been standing in a circle scattered. Trejo-Magallanes is charged with animal fighting and five counts of first-degree animal cruelty. Each is a class C felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

April 20, 2012 U.S. appeals court upholds criminal cockfighting laws

Visit our Animal Law page for more