A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of 41 For Allegedly Operating Mohawk Valley-Based Cockfighting Ring
Multi-Agency Crackdown Leads To Indictment Charging Defendants With Operating Illegal Animal Fighting Ring
Schneiderman: Those Who Harm Animals And Jeopardize The Safety Of Our Communities Will Be Brought To Justice
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced the arrests of 41 individuals for allegedly operating an illegal cockfighting operation in the Town of Frankfort. As part of an operation codenamed "Operation Bloodsport," state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), and the New York State Police, concluded a five-month investigation into a cockfighting network that was operating prohibited cockfights at a landscaping business in Herkimer County. The operation drew participants from numerous New York counties including Bronx, Erie, Herkimer, Monroe, New York, Oneida, Onondaga, and Queens.
On June 17, 2017, members of the New York State Police executed a search warrant at 2308 Higby Road in Frankfort. Police seized over 231 gamecocks that were turned over to the Herkimer Humane Society. A subsequent search of an adjacent barn resulted in the discovery of a game bird breeding and training facility. Police also seized bird-fighting paraphernalia, such as spurs or razors, which are attached to a bird’s talons to increase the carnage of the fight. In addition, heroin, several handguns, and over $68,000 in cash were seized. This investigation is part of Attorney General Schneiderman's ongoing efforts to combat animal cruelty and illegal animal fighting across New York State through his Animal Protection Initiative.
“Cockfighting is a cruel and torturous practice that inflicts significant pain and suffering on the animals involved,” saidAttorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Additionally, these events often go hand-in-hand with other dangerous and illegal activity, as was the case here. Those who harm animals and jeopardize the safety of our communities will be brought to justice.”
As prosecutors allege, a central figure in the cockfighting network was Patrick Samson. Samson owns and operates the landscaping business known as “Mr. P’s Natural Stone and Landscaping” in Frankfort. Samson allegedly hosted monthly cockfights at his landscaping business, where he built a massive cockfighting ring. The cockfights on Samson’s property charged spectators an admission fee, and offered food and alcoholic beverages.
Also alleged to be central to the network was Cesar Perez. Perez lived in Utica and was allegedly responsible for organizing and contacting gamecock owners from all over the state, and inviting spectators to come watch the fights. Perez allegedly coordinated scheduling of fights, utilized his girlfriend to collect admission fees, utilized his mother to cook food to sell to the spectators, and coordinated a gambling table for spectators to wager on which gamecock would die first.
Below are the names, ages and city and state of residence of the 41 individuals were charged with the felony of Engaging in Animal Fighting for Amusement, section 351 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law:
- MARCELINO BURGOS, 65, Utica, NY
- JOSE L. MORLAS-ORTIZ, 34, Utica, NY
- JOSE G. SANTIAGO-MARTINEZ, 44, Moorefield, WV
- GILBERTO TAVERAS, 32, Utica, NY
- MARCELINO CINTRA, 54, Rochester, NY
- ARNALDO R. SANTIAGO, 35, Utica, NY
- EIXTON FLORES, 61, Rochester, NY
- JOSE GARCIA, 44, Utica, NY
- CAMILLE GARCIA, 36, Buffalo, NY
- JOSE J. TORRES, 40, Rochester, NY
- JOEL MATEO, 31, Utica, NY
- JOSE J, MORALES, 37, Utica, NY
- VICTOR FELIX DEJESUS, 35, Buffalo, NY
- JOSUE RIVERA, 45, Buffalo, NY
- NELSON R. COLON, 46, Buffalo, NY
- KEVIN I. PEREZ, 25, Utica, NY
- CHRISTIAN E. GARCIA, 31, Syracuse, NY
- ESTHER GUZMAN, 61, New York, NY
- GISELLE ABREU MOREL, 26, New York, NY
- JORGE L. MATEO, 65, Utica, NY
- MARIO L. MATEO, 31, Utica, NY
- RADHAMES PEREZ, 37, Utica, NY
- ALVIN J. COLON, 36, Buffalo, NY
- HECTOR O. ALEJANDRO, 65, Williamsville, NY
- ANGEL L. MARTINEZ, 32, Moorefield, WV
- YORDANIS PLAZA LOPEZ, 32, Rochester, NY
- CARLOS J. GONZALEZ, 38, Utica, NY
- EIDER DIAZ, 42, Rochester, NY
- ANGEL M. ALEJANDRO, 45, Buffalo, NY
- JOSHUA E. CIRINO, 25, Utica, NY
- LUIS A. RODRIGUEZ, 19, Utica, NY
- DANIEL A. SANTIAGO, 37, Utica, NY
- RAMON RIVERA, 63, Rochester, NY
- ANGEL L. RIVERA, 52, Fairport, NY
- JAIME MATEO, 61, Utica, NY
- DIOMEDES R. TAVERAS, 51, Utica, NY
- LUIS D. RIVERA, 30, Utica, NY
- HECTOR A. MARTINEZ, 31, Syracuse, NY
- JUSTIN J. OLIVER, 16, Syracuse, NY
- EMMANUEL GOMEZ, 29, Utica, NY
- PATRICK SAMSON, 65, Frankfort, NY
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the New York State Police and the Herkimer County Humane Society for their assistance in this matter.
The investigation was directed by New York State Police Senior Investigator James Martin and Investigator Scott Rachon, along with OCTF Senior Investigator William Charles, Investigator Jeffrey Sauter, and Deputy Chief Investigator Eugene Black, under the supervision of Chief Dominick Zarrella.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Andrew McElwee, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice, Jason Brown.