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Saturday, Mar 10, 2012County: Maricopa
Alleged: Names Undisclosed
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his deputies busted a cockfighting operation in Phoenix on Saturday night.
Deputies arrested dozens of people at a home near 6th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road. It's a house that Arpaio said his office has been aware of for four years.
The raid came after tip to the sheriff's animal cruelty hotline, part of the department's Animal Crimes Investigations Unit.
"We arrested 43 people some tried to escape hop the fence we grabbed them and now they're being booked into the jail for being present at a cockfighting situation, said Arpaio."
Deputies said they found a cockfight in progress in the backyard of the home when they executed a search warrant Saturday night. They also reported finding 16 dead birds on the property.
"This is a very vicious crime I know in some South American countries it's legal but it's illegal here," explained Arpaio.
Arpaio said deputies also found cocaine at the house.
In addition, a utility crew from Arizona Public Service was called out because it appeared the occupants of the home had tampered with the utility equipment on the property and may have been stealing electricity.
Arpaio said some of the people arrested had outstanding warrants and a few may have been arrested in the past at a different cockfighting raid in Tonopah.
They are facing misdemeanor charges for being present at a cockfight. If investigators can identify the people who were in control of the cockfight operation they will face more serious charges.
Arpaio went on to say, "We're going to continue cracking down on animal cruelty no matter if it's cockfighting, dogs, cats, horses, I take it very serious and when we do make arrests the people go directly to jail."
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