Federal authorities bust Emanuel County cockfighting ring

Crime News

EMANUEL COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – A Swainsboro, GA man is in deep trouble with Federal Authorities, charged with cockfighting.

Wendell Allan Strickland faces 2 counts of Sponsoring and Exhibiting and Animal in an Animal Fighting Venture, two counts of Conducting an Illegal Gambling Business, and one count of possession and Transport of an Animal in an Animal fighting Venture.  The charges, which are all felonies, carry up to five years in prison along with fines and asset forfeiture.

U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine says, “In coordination with our law enforcement partners, we have shot down three of these reprehensible operations and seized more than $220,000 in case suspected to be illegal gambling proceeds.”

Investigators say, Strickland owned and operated “The Red Barn” in Swainsboro where several cockfighting events were held.  When the authorities arrived to Strickland’s property early this morning, they discovered the fighting pit was in the process of being taken apart and a box of cockfighting gear was seized. 

This most recent arrest is one of 3 in the CSRA since last year.  In December, Lanier Augustus Hightower Junior was arrested in Lincolnton after a raid on his property by Federal agents. Hightower has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In June of 2020, the location “Little Sunset” owned by William Shannon Scott in Midville, GA, was raided as part of Operation Sunshine.  A cockfighting tournament was being held at that location and law enforcement was able to identify 200 possible defendants. 

Multiple federal and state agencies took part in the bust, it is believed these 3 busts were the 3 largest cockfighting rings in the state of Georgia.

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