Nine people were arrested Saturday in Edmonson County after police raided a cockfighting ring in Brownsville.
Sixty-three people from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky also were cited for second-degree cruelty to animals and some for promoting gambling.
The arrests were made by Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations West, which executed a search warrant at 8001 Segal Road in Brownsville, where officers found and seized several weapons, $35,000 and a marijuana growing operation.
Property owner James F. Martin was among those arrested. He faces charges of second-degree cruelty to animals, first-degree promoting gambling, permitting gambling and possession of gambling records. Martin and the others arrested were taken to Grayson County Detention Center and all were released later Saturday after posting bonds ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Martin’s bond was $5,000.
“Most of those people we actually arrested were either employees or owners of the operation,” state police Detective Brad Harper said.
Harper said undercover officers were at the ring for the past month and conducted the raid about 2 p.m. Saturday.
“This was a big size operation,” Harper said. “Inside the place was stadium seating. It wasn’t out back behind the barn in a hole in the wall. It had a caged arena.”
Harper said suspected cockfights were going on at the address and nearby since 2007, but nothing to the scale that investigators found.
“They even had a schedule out like a baseball schedule,” he said. “They were fighting two to three times a month.”
Harper said 100 or so chickens were on the property but police allowed the owners, who were cited, to return to the property and collect their animals.
Officers also found 24 marijuana plants growing on the property, and will seek a grand jury indictment on those charges, Harper said.
Little was known this morning by officials in the county.
Edmonson County Judge-Executive N.E. Reed said he didn’t know about it until this morning when someone came into his office and told him about it.
County Attorney Greg Vincent said he also was unaware that officers conducted the raid. Harper said they sought a warrant directly from District Judge Renona Browning.
The raid, however, didn’t surprise Vincent.
“I have heard rumors that there was chicken fighting going on somewhere in the county ever since I came into office,” he said. “I remember going into (a former) sheriff’s office to speak to him about it and I noticed he had a baseball cap collection behind him and one of them said Edmonson County Cockfighters Association, so I decided I wasn’t going to get very far.”
Vincent said he expects to learn more about the case over the next few days.
Others arrested and charged were:
- Ernesto Cruzat, of Chicago, second-degree cruelty to animals and first-degree promoting gambling.
- Charlie Childress, of Morgantown, second-degree cruelty to animals and first-degree promoting gambling.
- Jack D. Sawyer, of Nashville, second-degree cruelty to animals, first-degree promoting gambling and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
- Roger C. Royston, of Dunnville, possession of gambling records.
- Jeffery L. Copas, of Woodburn, second-degree cruelty to animals and first-degree promoting gambling.
- Frank A. Martin, of Brownsville, second-degree cruelty to animals and first-degree promoting gambling.
- Thomas R. Butler, of Loretto, second-degree cruelty to animals and conspiracy to promote gambling.
- Jose Gamboa, of Palatine, Ill., first-degree promoting gambling.