Granville County cockfighting ring busted

May 7, 2012 4:16:00 AM PDT
Authorities busted an alleged illegal cockfighting ring in Granville County Sunday morning.

Twelve people were arrested, and officials said they seized 63 roosters, $23,000 in cash, and one gun during the investigation.

Sgt. Chad Coffey with the Granville County Sheriff's Office said they discovered the location off Highway 96, near the Tar River, almost by accident.

"We were doing a joint interdiction on I-95 with other agencies around the state, a vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation and in the vehicle were several fighting roosters," Coffee said.

From there, an undercover officer followed the vehicle to the location of the illegal operation.

"Officers drove back here to where the cockfighting was taking place and 15-20 guys ran," Sgt. Coffee said.

Authorities were able to take some of the suspects into custody immediately.

While searching for the others, officials said they found various paraphernalia, including scales used to weigh the birds, record books with results of previous fights, and spurs that are attached to roosters' legs during the fights. There was also a scoreboard set up on the property that would be used during a match.

Cockfighting is a felony, but officers told ABC11 that it is sometimes hard to catch criminals in the act because it is not illegal to own or breed roosters, only to hold fights.

"The fights are to the death, so the loser is the one that dies, the winner is the one that lives, but often times when these fights are over, the winner will die himself because of injuries sustained during the fight," Sgt. Coffey said.

Officials said all 12 suspects were charged with cockfighting. Authorities said, many of those in custody, were illegal immigrants and will face deportation in addition to the cockfighting charges.

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