HESPERIA – Sheriff’s deputies raided a cockfighting event in a rural portion of San Bernardino County, seizing cash and live roosters, and arrested 68 people on Saturday.
On Monday, a county sheriff’s spokesperson said that 32 of those arrested were also being held on immigration violations. Jodi Miller said the raid was sparked by an anonymous call to Victor Valley Sheriff’s on Saturday.
The Rural Crimes Task Force found 14 dead roosters during the raid, some being discarded in barrels or found lying on the ground. Over $20,000 in cash, which was being used for gambling on the cock fights, and 63 live roosters were confiscated during the raid, in which deputies surrounded a plywood barn located in the 14000 block of Summit Valley Rd.
Police suspect the event organizer and property owner, Daniel Urena, 20, of La Puente, of felonious conduct, according to a sheriff’s office release. He was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and illegal transport of animals. Miller said he was released Sunday on $25,000 bond. Others arrested on felony offenses include Herberto Gutierrez, 25, of Palmdale, Efrain Tello, 32, of Van Nuys, Julio Sanchez, 35, of Los Angeles, Rafael Beas, 59, of Victorville, Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, of Riverside, Gomez Saul Santibanez, 46, of Riverside, and Miquel Morales, 34, of Lynwood. Deputies also arrested a 15-year-old male on felony charges.
The task force consisted of deputies from various substations, including Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Chino Hills, Fontana, Hesperia San Bernardino, Yucaipa and the Morongo Basin. “Our Rural Crimes Task Force is committed to investigating agriculture related crimes and animal abuse. We will not let or allow this blood sport to flourish in the County of San Bernardino,” Sheriff Rod Hoops said in the news release.
Two helicopters were also used in the raid, along with county code enforcement officers, plus animal control officers from nearby Adelanto and agents from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Investigators submitted their case to the District Attorney’s Office on Monday for consideration of criminal charges, Miller said. All 68 suspects were sent to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.
The Sun: 68 arrested, $20,000 in cash seized at weekend raid of alleged cockfighting ring in Hesperia
Press Enterprise: 68 arrested at suspected cockfight venue
Hesperia Star: 68 arrested in cockfighting operation