Forty-two people were arrested over the weekend in the town of Frankfort -- after state police raided an illegal bird fighting operation. More than 200 birds were removed. Cara Thomas spoke with one woman involved in this weekend's rescue.
FRANKFORT, N.Y. -- Forty-two people are facing charges in Herkimer County in connection with an illegal bird fighting operation.
State Police searched two barns at Mr. P's Landscaping in the town of Frankfort Saturday, following a six-month-long investigation called "Operation Bloodsport."
In one of the barns, troopers say about 55 game birds and more than $68,000 were seized. The second barn was allegedly a game bird breeding and training facility, where they say about 180 additional game birds were seized.
Forty-one people are charged with engaging in animal fighting for amusement, which is a felony, including the property owner, Patrick Samson. Prosecutors say he was a central part of the operation. He hosted monthly fights at his landscaping business, where he built a massive cockfighting ring.
Five people are being held in the Herkimer County Jail, while the rest were released on appearance tickets for the town of Frankfort court.
All the birds were turned over to the Herkimer County Humane Society.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information on any other illegal game bird operations in the area can call the State Police Special Investigation Unit in Utica at 315-793-2531.
Full list of the 41 people charged with engaging in animal fighting for amusement:
• 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