Massive cockfighting ring busted in downtown Phnx

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Police say about 70 men took off running

PHOENIX - A cockfighting ring was busted in downtown Phoenix.

It was a massive operation likely with a lot of money being thrown around. Police say they found guns and others weapons including some that were being used against the roosters.

With downtown Phoenix looming in the distance, 9th Street and Elwood is a dead end and it was just that for more than 50 roosters.

It is a cockfighting ring made out of plywood complete with a scoreboard. Police took some pictures after they broke up the ring.

Neighbor Saul Ochoa watched from next door. He tells 3TV, "It just got out of control because I guess too many people came by."

When officers came by the more than 70 men took off running, leaving their trash and roosters behind.

Phoenix Police spokesperson Jon Howard explains, "Some of them were just fleeing the property on foot, others were getting in cars and driving out, and leaving. There were only two officers here at the time so two against 70 they were a little bit outnumbered."

Ochoa also says, "The whole crowd just running trying to get out boom."

The 'boom' was the fence coming down as the crowd tore through it.

Officer Howard admits, "That's big, anytime we have this kind of activity, it's disturbing, but to see that many people out in one time in the center of the city here is a little alarming."

It was the middle of the day and there were crates everywhere and even syringes the men used to shoot antibiotics into the roosters.

"These guys put weapons in their hands you know like knives and stuff so it's like they get cut up pretty bad," Ochoa tells 3TV

The weapons are steel talons the men would strap to the roosters. "To see that people are torturing and allowing animals to torture each other is really disheartening," say Officer Howard.

They fought until death but now the ring has been locked up and a few remaining roosters have been spared.

The police officers who broke up the fight actually returned on their own the next day just to make sure the roosters had been taken care of.

3TV was told the Department of Agriculture has picked them up and ICE is now investigating.