by Victor Lopez
PERMIAN BASIN--What is it about this blood sport that makes it so appealing?
After some digging, NewsWest 9 found out, the cockfights that were going on Saturday in Martin County, very probably were, what you could consider, "preliminaries" for a bigger contest in Ojinaga, Mexico. According to local authorities, considering the amount of cash that was seized, this is all about the money.
"In the raid itself, we seized, I think it was, $87.000. That induces these individuals to have roosters that will perform extremely well," Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, said.
Although it's the largest organized crime bust in the history of Martin County, Sheriff Painter says, the events that took place, could be just the tip of an even larger iceburg, "Supposedly this was a training excercise for these roosters in prepartation for a large event in Ojinaga. At that event in Ojinaga there are some large prizes that are given away, several thousand dollars in cash, around 40,000 and a vehicle to the winner."
Painter adds, even though this one got busted, there could be more rings out there, "If that information that was given to us was correct, you can deduct that, yes, there's going to be other instances where these people gather or individuals gather in an effort to have cockfighting."
Ector County saw it's share of illegal cockfighting just last December, but with nowhere near the same results.
"There obviously had been fighting going on out there in the past, but if nobody tips us off, there's not a network of people. If you're involved in it, you're not going to talk about it," Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson, said.
Two similar cases, just months apart, might ring a few bells to some. But does it mean activity is on the rise? Sheriff Donaldson says, "I don't think it's anything new. I don't think it's getting more prevalent than it already was. It's just that, boom, we've had two things right here close together."
With all the arrests made and money confiscated, you would think this would be the end of cockfighting in the Permian Basin. Sheriff Painter isn't so sure, "That will make a dent in it for a while. With that kind of money involved, they'll be back."
And he's got a word or two for anyone who might be thinking of taking part.
"If you violate the law in Midland County, Martin County, or Ector County, we're going to come after you and we're going to put you in jail," Painter expressed.
Both Sheriff Painter and Sheriff Donaldson say if you see or hear anything suspicious, such as a lot of crowing or barking and there's a large amount of vehicles in a remote, secluded area, call the Sheriff's Office so they can check it out.