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Suspected cockfighting ring raided in San Bernardino County

January 9, 2012 |  2:43 pm

PC597 Bald Mesa 001

A suspected illegal cockfighting operation in the high desert east of Victorville was raided by authorities Sunday morning, netting 47 arrests, 92 roosters and more than $21,000 in cash being gambled on the bloody poultry fights.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said investigators received an anonymous tip about a cockfighting ring in the unincorporated town of Baldy Mesa. Deputies, joined by other local law enforcement agencies, raided the property on the 9000 block of Hollister Road about 11:30 a.m.

They found a large cockfight ring in a barn with more than 300 people inside. Dead roosters were found around the ring and in barrels. Many of the spectators fled on foot when the raid began. Forty-seven suspects were taken into custody on suspicion of animal cruelty and cockfighting.

The owner of the property and alleged organizer of the fights, identified as Fernando Hernandez, 62, fled the barn and remains at large, according to a statement provided by the Sheriff’s Department.

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--Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: Cockfighting ring. Credit: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

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