PHOENIX – Sheriff’s deputies arrested 69 people Saturday in the largest cockfighting bust in Arizona history. Among those arrested were 20 suspected illegal immigrants. Ten minors ranging in age from 7-months to 17-years-old were also at the scene.
Two property owners and two men who are accused of organizing the operation were charged with felonies. Most of the spectators will be charged with suspicion of being present at a cockfight, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.
The event took place near Baseline and Wintersburg Roads in the desert community of Tonopah. The bust was the culmination of a month-long surveillance operation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls cockfighting a vicious blood sport. Roosters fight to the death as spectators gamble on winners. Only two of the 54 roosters found at the scene survived, the others had to be euthanized.
Deputies also seized $28,000 in cash, a gun and a small amount of illegal drugs.