Candelario Nieto Castillo, 42, 9784 Co. Rd. N, entered a guilty plea to a charge of operating a gambling house in connection with a Sunday, May 4, cockfighting event held at a rural Delta property.
Fulton County Sheriff Department deputies issued citations to 52 men for aiding or abetting an animal fight, a misdemeanor under Ohio law, after a call from a neighbor led deputies to the residence.
Deputies also confiscated 72 gamecocks, and about $1,500 in cash at the event.
Nieto Castillo was originally charged with the animal fighting charge. Later, prosecutors added an animal cruelty charge and a charge of operating a gambling house.
All of the charges are misdemeanors.
In Fulton County Eastern District Court on Thursday, Aug. 28, the animal fighting and animal cruelty charges were dropped.
In return, Nieto Castillo entered a no-contest plea to the charge of operating a gambling house.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 days in jail at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, but was granted work release. He may go to work, but he must return to CCNO during his off hours.
In addition, Nieto Castillo was fined $500, with $70 in court costs.
The court also ordered him to pay $516.50 in restitution.
A court spokesman explained that after the gamecocks were confiscated, the Fulton County Dog Warden arranged for them to be kept at an undisclosed location.
They were euthanized in June.
The bill for the feeding, housing, and later euthanization of the birds amounted to more than $1,000.
That amount was cut in half as part of sentence negotiations, a court spokesman said.
Nieto Castillo was also placed on probation for one year, and ordered to complete 30 hours of community service.
In addition, he may not possess a rooster or cockfighting paraphernalia for five years.
The Fulton County Sheriff Department received complaints of a possible cockfight going on at 9785 Co. Rd. N at 11:09 am, May 4.
The location of the alleged event is at the rear of other properties, down a long lane.
Trees surround the area.
There are a house and shed or shelterhouse building on the property.
An FCSD deputy saw several vehicles parked at the property and called for backup. Persons at the property apparently spotted the marked FCSD cruiser, and began to flee.
Then there was a report of a gunshot. Officials said the shot may have been fired by a neighbor to warn those fleeing from the cockfight to not try and hide on their property.
Roy Miller, Fulton County Sheriff, said in an interview at the time that after the gunshot, “Everybody came running.”
Assisting at the scene were other Fulton County sheriff deputies, including one lieutenant, two sergeants, and two other deputies, plus Wauseon and Delta police.
As people began to return to the property to retrieve their vehicles, they were issued citations and allowed to leave.
Of the 52 men to whom citations were issued, only three were from Fulton County. Nine were from Ohio.
There were 26 from Indiana and 17 from Michigan.
Most pled guilty to the animal fighting charge and were fined $250, plus $70 in court costs.
The animal fighting charge against Jose G. Rendon was dismissed. Prosecutors said while Rendon was on the property, he was not attending the cockfight.
Of the remainder, 46 either pled guilty or no contest to the charge of aiding or abetting an animal fight.
Two others pled guilty to charges of disorderly conduct.
Two men, Adrian Garcia, 24, South Bend, Ind., and Luis Garza, 29, Goshen, Ind., failed to appear in court. Warrants have been issued for their arrest.