UPDATE: Cockfighting Raid in Martin County Lands 83 People Behind Bars - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

UPDATE: Cockfighting Raid in Martin County Lands 83 People Behind Bars

Staff Report 
NewsWest 9

MARTIN COUNTY- An illegal cockfighting ring turned up more than dead birds after authorities busted in during a fight on Saturday.

Midland and Martin County Sheriff's Deputies arrested 83 people on charges of engaging in criminal activity. Authorities confiscated drugs and cash during the raid Saturday afternoon.

"The cruelty to animals is unbelievable, we've got some that are bleeding some that are about to die. It's a very sad, sad situation," Sheriff Gary Painter said.

Martin County Sheriff John Woodward called the raid, "the biggest organized crime bust in our history."

Authorities took dozens of people, including juveniles and illegal immigrants by van to the Midland County Detention Center. A judge set the bond at $20,000 dollars for the people arrested.

Sheriff Woodward tells NewsWest9 that they have confiscated $88,000 in cash along with 105 roosters and hens. 39 vehicles have also been impounded. Cocaine was also found on the property.

The property itself has been seized by authorities and the FBI is now investigating.

"There is a lot of hay out here and so we're kicking through it and finding little surprises everywhere," Woodward said.

Woodard says deputies found steroids and knives used to beef up the birds and arm them for fights. The property is just over the Martin County line, but Sheriff Painter says people traveled from out of state to place a bet at the fight.

"Everybody was taken into custody and we still had chickens inside the pens fighting," Painter said.

Sheriff Painter says the case may be handed over to federal prosecutors.

"We're looking at who is the ring leader and who is just spectators to see how charges are directed," Woodward said.

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