Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office stated they arrested 14 people in the bust. They have since amended that number to 13. The story has been updated.

RUSK COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Most of the 13 people arrested after police discovered an illegal cockfighting ring in Rusk County have been identified and appeared in front of a judge Monday.

According to Rusk County Jail records, the following people were arrested and charged with cockfighting:

  • 70-year-old George Henly
  • 48-year-old Jose Luis Hernandez
  • 42-year-old Juan Hernandez
  • 35-year-old Rodrigo Hernandez (photo not yet available)
  • 55-year-old Luis Juarez
  • 50-year-old Francisco Fernandez Moreno
  • 45-year-old Moses Payan
  • 19-year-old Ruben Ramos Perales Jr.
  • 49-year-old Ruben Ramos Perales Sr.
  • 41-year-old Jose Olvera Rodroguez
  • 34-year-old Jose Francisco Sanchez

Around 125 animals were seized after the illegal cockfighting ring was discovered on Sunday.

Two phone calls were made to 911 on Sunday because people were watching rooster fights in a wooded area. The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office said they arrived at the 15000 block of County Road 2132. They detained individuals, and charged them with felony offenses or misdemeanors. The owner of the land was also arrested. Some of the animals that were found were dead.

This is the second cockfighting bust carried out by authorities in the past six weeks.

“This is a very large bust because not only did we get people actively cockfighting whenever we arrived… if you pan to my right there’s all the dead roosters,” said Sheriff Johnwayne Valdez.

Deputies also seized nine vehicles and discovered an undisclosed amount of cash at the property.

23 people received tickets for being spectators of the animal fights.

The sheriff’s office mentioned, around 40 people also ran into the woods when authorities arrived at the location.

“We got here soon enough to where there aren’t that many roosters that actually died from cockfighting,” said Sheriff Valdez.

Individuals traveled from San Antonio, Houston and Dallas to have their roosters participate in the fights.

Law enforcement were also granted a search warrant to look through all the vehicles on the property.

Sheriff Johnwayne Valdez holds a box containing blades used in cockfighting matches.

They found fighting boxes in some of the vehicles. There were blades and other instruments used during rooster fights inside the boxes.

Every rooster is worth $5,000, and people could make $15,000 from one match, said the sheriff’s office.

A property hearing is also going to be held since no one is claiming the roosters.

Deputies are taking in the roosters temporarily.

The Sheriff’s Office said this bust was overwhelming and it could not have been done without Texas DPS, Tatum Police, Precinct 2 Constable Matt Allison and the Rusk County DA’s office.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office is also encouraging anyone with information to call Rusk County Crime Stoppers at 903-655-8477

In June, the Sheriff’s office also seized 30 fighting roosters from a property on County Road 2164 in Henderson. They also found equipment used to train the animals.

Deputies began investigating the property after receiving a tip that rooster fighting was taking place there. The SPCA in Dallas was also contacted to assist with the placement of the birds.


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