In New York, a city and statewide raid broke apart a vicious cockfighting ring and discovered more than 3,000 caged fighting roosters. In total, nine people have been charged, and the authorities nabbed around 70 people suspected to be involved in the cockfighting events.
The sting, known as “Operation Angry Birds,” took place last Saturday (February 8) under the orders of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force joined with state cops and U.S. Department of Homeland Security forces to raid the Queens location of the cockfighting ring located in the neighborhood of Woodhaven.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, an informant helped lead authorities to the Woodhaven building where the cockfighting took place. The informant himself was a bird trainer for 10 years, and took video of the event for authorities.
The roosters had their natural spurs clipped off and replaced with metal spurs and were fed performance enhancing drugs. Wagers for the fights went as high as $10,000 reportedly. Liquor was also sold illegally at the fighting events, and there was a fee of $40 to come inside to watch the gamecocks maul each other. At the Queens sting ,six people were arrested for bringing gamecocks to fight, which is a felony in New York.
In Brooklyn’s Bushwick section, cops raided pet store Pet NV and discovered 30 to 50 caged birds that have been altered and primed for cockfighting. Store owner Jeremias Nieves was arrested and charged with animal fighting.
The raid continued on Sunday in Plattekill, N.Y., after authorities raided a 90-acre farm connected to the cockfighting ring downstate. Around 3,000 birds were found caged on the farm, which operated under the veil of being a poultry farm. Farm manager Manuel Cruz, and farm hand Jesus Cruz were both arrested and charged. The elder Cruz charged gamecock owners to care, feed, and train the birds for cockfighting.
The ASPCA has taken the birds from their cages and provided them with shelter and care.