2014-05-07 / Front Page

Suspected Cockfighting Operation Discovered Near Delta

52 Persons Cited; Three Are From Fulton County

Fulton County sheriff deputies issued citations to 52 persons and confiscated 72 roosters and $1,500 after they discovered an alleged cockfighting operation, Sunday, May 4.

Roy Miller, sheriff, said at about 11:09 am, the department received a report, allegedly from neighbors, about something going on, possibly cockfighting, at 9786 Co. Rd. N, Royalton Township.

The property is behind other homes, down a long lane. The deputy observed several cars at the residence.

While the deputy was waiting for backup to arrive, Miller said those on the property apparently spotted the marked FCSD patrol car, and began fleeing.

Then there was a gunshot. Miller said the shot may have been fired by a neighbor, who, upon seeing strangers attempting to hide on their property, fired a warning shot.

After the report of the gunshot, “everyone came running,” Miller said.

In addition to more deputies, officers from the Wauseon and Delta police departments went to the scene.

Most persons who fled eventually returned to the property.

The alleged cockfighting was staged in a barn or shed on the property, Miller said.

What To Do?

Miller said deputies who were on the scene contacted him. He consulted with Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney.

Summonses to appear in Eastern District Court on a charge of animal fighting/spectator– aider and abettor were issued to 52 persons, who were then allowed to leave.

Of the 52, only nine were from Ohio; three were from Fulton County.

There were 26 from Indiana, and 17 from Michigan.

Ages ranged from 21 to 77.

What are the chances that all 52 will appear in court, or pay their fines?

Miller said the fine for animal fighting/spectator, aider and abettor, is $250. Balance that against the fact the sheriff department was paying an FCSD lieutenant, two sergeants, and two deputies, some on overtime, to deal with the situation.

If the 52 were arrested and taken into custody, Miller said they would have needed to call a bus from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio.

And even if they did, would CCNO be capable of housing them?

Another option would have been to bring all the alleged offenders to the Sheriff Department and require them to post bond. That would have been complicated, again, by the amount of man hours involved, and finding suitable transportation.

If someone from out of state fails to appear or pay the fine, Miller said a warrant on his record will create problems for him.

For example, if he is pulled over by a police officer and the officer finds a warrant on his record, the officer will look at that individual much more closely, even if it’s a non-extradition warrant.

Maureen Linehan, media coordinator for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Ohio is one of only 14 states where cockfighting is not considered a felony offense.


Brian Banister, Fulton County dog warden, was called to deal with the roosters that were on site.

Banister said most of the birds were in their own cages, or had their own homemade carriers.

“This was not the first cockfight these people had been to,” Banister said.

The problem, he said, was that each bird must be kept separate; otherwise they will begin fighting.

Eventually, Banister said a livestock trailer was called in, and the birds, in their cages or carriers, were loaded.

The birds were taken to an undisclosed location, where Banister said he is in charge of caring for them.

For now, they are considered evidence, and will be held in the county’s care until the sheriff or the county prosecutor says otherwise.


Banister said in his 20 years with Fulton County, this is the first active cockfight law enforcement has found.

Banister and Miller said there have been rumors of such events in the past.

“But we never fully put one together. We’d get there, and it would be all over,” Miller said.

Miller said they searched for someone in the law enforcement community who had some expertise with cockfighting, but none could be found.

He said one of his officers on scene told him, “That’s okay, I’ll wing it.”–David Pugh


Those cited:

Nieto Castillo Candelario, 44, Delta;

Pedro Valiente-Frias, 41, Swanton;

Raul Silva, 35, Lyons;

Jose G. Rendon, 30, McComb;

Rigaberto Loera, 31, Napoleon;

Steve Scott, Jr., 42, Oakwood;

Elias D. Martinez, 47, Holland;

Dakota A. Scott, 20, Continental;

Rual Hernandez-Baez, 26, Weston;

Michael A. Clary, 45, Pleasant Lake, Mich.;

Vincente Garcia-Lopez, 45, Jackson, Mich.;

Pablo Martinez-Gutierrez, 43, Hudson, Mich.;

Cornelio Esqueda-Palos, 26; Valentin Pesqueda, 36; Gustavo Cabrera, 43; Jorge D. Santos, 23; Adrian, Mich.;

Ramayo Marcos Sanchez, 42; Max Linarez, 39; Clayton, Mich.;

Alejandro Arias, 21; Juan M. Arias-Rubio, 23; Kevin Arias, 20; Juan M. Arias-Morales; J. Jesus Munoz, 44; Sturgis, Mich.;

Victor A. Murillo-Gonzalez, 21; Fermin Murillo-Gonzalez, 28; Jonesville, Mich.;

Arturo D. Davila, 39, Manilou Beach, Mich.;

Ramiro Munoz, 54; Humberto N. Carmona, 37; Martin C. Luna, 49; Lagrange, Ind.;

Adrian Garcia, 24, South Bend, Ind.;

Juan A. Magallanes, 35; J. Juan Aguilar-Zamarripa, 44; Valentin Cardena Ponce, 37; Ignacio Cruz-Ponce, 41; Rigoberto Loera, 30; Martin M. Rodriguez, 24; Jose M. Vargas, 69, Eduardo Galindo Ramirez, 29; Lues Garza, 34; Roberto J. Martinez, 28; Esteban Martinez, 46; Goshen, Ind.;

Jesus M. Martinez, 43; Juan Garcia, 77; Fort Wayne, Ind.;

Jose Moreno, 43; Eloy N. Carmona, 34; Luis Maldonado, 29; Adan Ramirez-Martinez, 53, Howe, Ind.;

Prodigios Rosales, 51; Dario Marin-Alvarez, 31; Herminio Marales, 57; Elkhart, Ind.;

Victorino Rosales, 47, Bristol, Ind.;

Mario Lopez, 49, Warsaw, Ind.

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