ELKO, Nev. (AP) — Two Elko County men had been convicted Friday of a mountainous number of crimes connected to an unlawful cockfighting operation learned at some level of a drug raid in rural northeast Nevada in 2019.
One man, Hector Hugo Ramirez-De La Torre, furthermore was once learned responsible of drug trafficking charges and possessing a firearm by a prohibited individual, the Elko Every day Free Press reported.
The jury did now not reach a verdict in Elko County District Court on drug charges for the totally different man, Jorge Landeros Ruiz. But prosecutors mentioned Friday they intend to retry him on two criminal counts of drug trafficking and one criminal depend of affirming a attach for unlawful spend of a managed substance.
Defense attorneys argued the men had been most effective taking orders from greater-united statesin an unspecified Mexican cartel that was once running the operation and feared for their security in the event that they disobeyed.
A third man, Eduardo Ruiz, pleaded responsible earlier to two drug charges and 5 charges of unlawful killing or maiming of an animal. He was once sentenced to six to 18 years in detention heart.
All three had been arrested in a drug raid in Osino about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Elko in March 2019 when law officers attach up an undercover operation and managed the steal of capsules.
Legislation officers learned the cockfighting operation at some level of the raid. They learned extra than 500 chickens and four horses and ended up euthanizing 248 roosters alongside with a horse in downhearted bodily situation. They furthermore confiscated 8.8 pounds (4 kilograms) of methamphetamine, $13,000 in money and eight firearms.
The animal welfare community, Animal Wellness Motion, heralded the convictions as extra evidence federal prosecutors have to step up enforcement of animal protection licensed guidelines nationally after 300 gamecocks had been seized in Las Vegas final week and 70 in Los Angeles County on Wednesday. There furthermore had been eight cockfighting-connected arrests in Georgia on Tuesday.
“We applaud the Elko County District Attorney’s office for their profitable conviction of Jorge Ruiz on cockfighting-connected charges and for cracking down and combating in inequity horrific blood-sport that continues to plague the negate of Nevada,” executive director Marty Irby mentioned in a statement Friday.
“Native officials get performed their job, and it’s time for the U.S. Department of Justice to steal extra action and implement the federal anti-cruelty licensed guidelines that had been clearly violated on this case,” he mentioned.
Jorge Ruiz was once learned responsible Friday of 10 counts of unlawful killing or maiming of an animal kept for companionship or pleasure, and 10 extra counts of possession of an animal with the intent to get it fight with one other animal.
As well to to the drug and weapon charges, Ramirez-De La Torre was once learned responsible of 10 charges connected to cockfighting.
Jorge Ruiz’s defense attorney, Karena Dunn, mentioned capsules had been learned in and round outbuildings and trailer residences on his property, but no longer interior his home.
Ramirez-De La Torre’s attorney, Gary Woodbury, mentioned he worked as a caretaker on the property, but there was once no evidence he was once infected by a cock-combating operation. He mentioned Ramirez-De La Torre feared for his life if he disobeyed leaders of the cartel.
“The truth is that he’s a minor bit participant on this, and if law enforcement would get pushed this a diminutive of bit, the realm would had been hundreds greater because they might need purchased a stage up on these cartels as a exchange of attempting to get a 34-year-extinct minor league participant in detention heart for a truly, very long time,” Woodbury mentioned.
Deputy District Attorney Trace Mills pointed to law enforcement testimony that denied there was once cartel involvement in Elko County.
“It’s impartial hypothesis,” he mentioned.
Mills mentioned it was once “significant” that Jorge Ruiz “didn’t know what was once going on.” All three men arrested had their names on boxes in the rooster receiving home, and instructions on cockfighting had been learned interior Jorge Ruiz’s fundamental attach, he mentioned.
“It doesn’t steal a wild leap to search round all three of them had been infected by this stuff,” Mills mentioned. “The evidence presentations unequivocally all three of these guys had been on this collectively.”
Two Elko County men convicted of cockfighting charges