Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office busts suspected cockfighting ring, more than 2 dozen arrested

News

UPDATE December 20 2019: Eighteen additional people have been arrested, making 38 total, as of now.

They are all charged with animal cruelty and illegal gambling.

The sheriff says more arrests are expected.


UPDATE: Major Wallen with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office tell us five more people have turned themselves in.

According to Wallen, the bond is set for the fifth.

Wallen has received four additional phone calls today from individuals wishing to turn themselves in.


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspected cockfighting ring.

With the help of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office responded to a property on Thomson Highway on Saturday.

“It was total chaos,” Major Wallen says. “People running everywhere. Chickens running everywhere…sadly, [we were] outnumbered. There were over 200 of them and 5 of us so we managed to catch 20, I think we caught 22 initially, and then we picked up a couple more on the road. “

As of Monday morning, Major Wallen says they had charged 26 people with commercial gambling and aggravated cruelty to animals. They expect the number of arrests to increase as they investigate further.

“Whether you bet, whether you fought a chicken or just there helping your grandma, you get arrested,” Major Wallen says.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is not used to arresting more than 2 dozen people in just one weekend so Major Wallen tells NewsChannel 6, the jail is maxed out and they still have people turning themselves in.

Dozens of people ran when deputies showed up and they left their cars behind. Major Wallen says they towed more than 50 vehicles with licences plates from a variety of states– Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, Oregon and Tennessee.

“According to the people I’ve interviewed so far, that was a small fight. For instance, in Alabama, there will be 4,000 to 5,000 people.” Major Wallen says.

He estimated anywhere from 600 to 700 chickens were on the Lincoln County property on Saturday. Major Wallen says they counted about 15 to 16 dead chickens. Some of the people who ran, left chickens behind.

“To the best of my knowledge we got all of the chickens out and left them there with the land owner, who it was his operation, so he is taking care of the ones that are still alive,” says Major Wallen.

NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Osborne talked to the land owner who respectfully declined an interview because of his upcoming legal proceedings.

Major Wallen says there were 46 registered fighters who paid $600 dollars a piece. They have not been able to recover the money from those entry fees, but they did seize money from those who were there.

“I do not have a total from the money that we seized from the people who were gambling. It’s significant. If we in fact convict them in the courtroom then we will be able to hold that money and use it in our confiscated funds account,” Major Wallen says.


Watch the full interview with LCSO’s Major Jim Wallen


Below is a list of the people arrested:

  • Jason Lee Addison of Anderson, SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Ronnie Lee Addison of Abbeville SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Leopoldo Barajas-Arteaga of Stone Ridge, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Ramon Cazares of Conyers, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Juan Manuel Espinoza of Liberty, SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Verrillo Fortin of Augusta, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Robert Lee Fuller of Greenville SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Gerardo Quistian Hernandez of Cowpens, SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Gonzalo Herrera Jr. of North Cross GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Javier Izaguirre of Atlanta, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Hilberto Nava Jesus of Atlanta, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Jeffery Robert McCollum of Ivia, SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Miguel Angel Medina of Duluth, SC: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Ramiro Nabarro of Lawerenceville, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Martin Coronado Ornelas of Winder, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Jorge Rafeal Rodriguez of Norcross, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Timothy Shane Smith of Canton, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Wilder Toma’s of Eatonton, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Lanier Hightower of Lincolnton, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Joel Herrera of Cumming, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Esteban Ramirez-Adame of Lancaster, S.C.: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Rafael Garcia of Forest Park, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Daniel Ortiz Hernandez of Athens, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Flores Vargas-Humberto of Miretti, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Angel Ayala Lopez of Liberty, S.C.: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Jose Luis Vaca-Rosas of Maysville, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Gabino G. Fernandez of Cummings, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Zavala Fernando of Winder, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Allan E. Flores of Norcross, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Juvenal Jovany Gonzalez of Talmo, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Daniel Cornejo Herrera of Atlanta, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Arturo Juarez-Acosta of Bethlehem, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Jose Luis Medrano of Norcross, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Isideo Matthews Montanez of Duluth, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Jose Moreno-Montes De OCA of Monroe, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Abel Ponce of Winder, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Javier Sanchez of Cummings, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling
  • Erik David Vargas of Elberton, GA: Aggravated Cruelty To Animals and Commercial Gambling

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories