LEE COUNTY, Fla. - On Tuesday, September 7, 2010, at approximately 7:00 a.m., members of the Lee County Sheriff's Office Special Operations Squad (SWAT Team) and Narcotics Unit executed search warrants at two local addresses. The locations were suspected of illegal cockfighting activities. The deputies and detectives successfully entered each property, 1530 Apollo Drive, Ft. Myers and 17130 Kentara Way, Lehigh Acres. As a result, two arrests have been made and more than 600 roosters have been turned over to Lee County Domestic Animal Services.
The investigation began after a Sheriff's Office Dunbar Community Policing deputy was notified of a suspected cockfighting organization. The information was forwarded and undercover detectives began looking into the matter. Multiple purchases of illegal narcotics were made during the period and information corroborating suspicions of the raising and training of fighting roosters confirmed. Due to the nature of the case, detectives sought the assistance of Lee County Domestic Animal Services, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Association, the Sheriff's Office Agriculture Unit and animal experts from around the United States. Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said, "Today's impressive raid stands as a prime example of the importance of citizens, law enforcement and specialized professionals working together to rid our communities of crime."
Detectives seized 94 grams of cocaine, 50 grams of Marijuana, 2 grams of Opiates and 52 game cocks at the Apollo Drive address. Pedro Lopez, age 37, was arrested and charged as follows: Trafficking in Cocaine x2; Possession of Marijuana x2; Sale of Marijuana; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Opiates; Animal Fighting and Baiting; Housing Distressed Animals; and, Animal Cruelty.
At the Kentara Way address, a .22 Caliber rifle and .38 Caliber revolver were seized, along with more than 600 game cocks (investigators don't anticipate a final count until later tonight). A stolen vehicle was also recovered on the property. William Roman, age 54, has been arrested and charged as follows: Animal Fighting and Baiting; Housing Distressed Animals; and, Animal Cruelty.