A federal grand jury has indicted 21 people in connection to dogfighting and drug trafficking, Indiana authorities announced Thursday.
The charging allegations include armed fentanyl trafficking, cocaine trafficking, methamphetamine trafficking, money laundering and participation in an animal-fighting venture, said US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary Myers at a news conference.
The indictment stemmed from a 2022 investigation into two men who allegedly worked together to smuggle fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico into the United States and distributed the drugs in Indianapolis and central Indiana, according to Myers.
He said one of those men - identified as Gregory Henderson Jr. - remains a fugitive and, along with other defendants named in the indictment, was responsible for distributing the drugs throughout and near Indiana's capital.
Investigators learned the group belonged to a neighborhood-based gang called the 34th Street Gangster Disciples, which authorities believe was connected to drugs supplied by the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, FBI Special Agent in Charge Herb Stapleton said Thursday.
Investigators discovered a "significant dog-fighting venture" being operated by those named in the indictment, and law enforcement seized around 90 dogs.
"The allegations are deeply disturbing about the many dogs that were made to engage in these violent and horrific fights for the pleasure of and the gambling of the individuals who just lacked, allegedly, the humanity to see what was wrong in what they were doing and to choose to engage in that conduct again and again over a significant period of time," Myers said.
Myers said the 90 seized dogs and puppies are at a secure location and undergoing behavioral assessment.
"The goal ultimately is to make sure that all these dogs are, if possible, adopted and placed in a safe home," Myers said.
"We executed warrants across approximately 30 locations. Most of those were here in the state of Indiana; Some were in Ohio, some were in Kentucky. There were 21 subjects indicted - 18 of those subjects are in federal custody," Stapleton said.
The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Henderson. Investigators are also seeking information on a second fugitive, Maurice Ervin, who is named in the indictment.
Each person charged with conspiracy to engage in an animal-fighting venture faces a five-year federal prison sentence, and each person charged with conspiracy to traffic controlled substances faces a life sentence, according to the Southern District of Indiana's US Attorney's Office.
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