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30 arrested in connection to Lafayette Co. cockfighting ring

Thirty people were arrested in connection to an illegal cockfighting ring in Lafayette County,...
Thirty people were arrested in connection to an illegal cockfighting ring in Lafayette County, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.(FDACS)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:46 AM EDT
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MAYO, Fla. (WCTV) - Thirty people were arrested in connection to an illegal cockfighting ring in Lafayette County, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Following several months of investigation, multiple law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant in mid-July 2021 at 1915 SE Calhoun Road in Mayo, the press release says.

Officers serving the warrant found participants and spectators actively engaged in “the illegal blood sport of fighting or baiting of animals” and began arresting people immediately, FDACS says.

During the search, officers found three dead birds and seized 41 birds that were brought to the area “for the sole purpose of pitting them against each other in cruel fights to the death,” the release says.

Investigators say they also found several guns, a large amount of cash and illegal drugs.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says FDACS’ law enforcement officers work every day to stop crimes like this.

“Such abhorrent behavior will not be tolerated – be it illegal conduct hurting Floridians or cruelty against animals,” Fried says. “Thanks to our law enforcement team and partners, this ring was broken up and the individuals involved are being brought to justice.”

The following people were arrested in connection to the cockfighting ring (NOTE: One out of the 30 people arrested was a minor):

  • Mario Martinez Alvarez, 44, residence unknown
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Ronald Amburgy, 70, Ocala, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juan Avilar, 35, Live Oak, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Octavio Besera, 37, Williston, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Preciliano Carrillo, Jr., 34, Valdosta, Georgia
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Jesus Cavillio, 41, Valdosta, Georgia
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Angeles Diaz, 50, DeLeon Springs, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Thomas Equi, 62, Reddick, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Omar Alonzo Martinez-Gonzales, 44, Mayo, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juan Gerardo Hernandez-Menendez, 36, Mayo, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Adela Monroy, 36, Mayo, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Alejando Moreno, 29, Live Oak, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Alejandro Landaverde Moreno, 22, Live Oak, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Anthony Thomas Moreno, 24, Satsuma, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Gonzalo Munoz, 52, Morriston, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Ismael Nava, 46, Valdosta, Georgia
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Jose De Jesus Martinez Nunez, 43, Astor, Florida
    • Charges: Owning, possessing, or selling equipment for use in Animal Fighting - Third Degree Felony, one count
      • Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juan Hernandez Oviedo, 35, Live Oak, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juan Manuel Hernandez Oviedo, 35, Mayo Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Renee Ruska Pelzman, 64, Ocala, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juan Aguilar-Perez, 35, Live Oak, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Scott Phillips, 30, Lake City, Florida
    • Charges:
      • Owning, possessing, or selling equipment for use in Animal Fighting - Third Degree Felony, one count
      • Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
      • Distribution of Cannabis (Weight 65 grams), Second Degree Felony, one count
      • Felon in Possession of a Firearm (AR-15), Third Degree Felony, one count.
  • Rickie Ramirez, 29, Tampa, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count.
  • Jose Rodas, 39, Morrison, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Antonio Sanchez, 42, Ocala, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Jose Luis Cruz-Torres, 36, Pierson, Florida
    • Charges:
      • Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
      • Child neglect, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Rene Turgios, 45, Mayo, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Reninel Tusio, 45
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Reymundo Cruz Zarate, 52, Crescent City, Florida
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count
  • Juvenile
    • Charges: Attending the fighting or baiting of animals, Third Degree Felony, one count

Officers from the following agencies contributed to the investigation:

  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office
  • Florida Department of Corrections

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