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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

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For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: mkelly@oag.state.va.us

Brian McGinn
Phone: (434) 295-8672
Emailbrian.mcginn@usdoj.gov

 

United States Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy

 Joint release from Attorney General Mark Herring and U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy...

ALLEGED OPERATORS OF "BIG BLUE" COCK FIGHTING PIT IN MCDOWELL, KENTUCKY, ARRESTED

Abingdon, VIRGINIA--United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced that five individuals appeared in federal court today who had been arrested on warrants executed during a joint federal/state multi-agency operation in Virginia and Kentucky on Saturday morning.  The following individuals appeared in federal court today:

The defendants are charged with conspiring to (a) operate an illegal gambling enterprise and (b) illegally conduct cock fights.

The following defendants were charged in state court.

A federal criminal complaint unsealed today in United States District Court in Abingdon alleges the Stumbos, Robinsons and others conspired to have cock fights at the Big Blue Sportsmen's Club ("Big Blue") in McDowell, Kentucky. The complaint further alleges the defendants, and others, organized a comprehensive cock fighting derby at Big Blue, which included collecting "parking" fees from spectators, entrance fees from handlers and offering for sale such services as antibiotics for fighting birds, a full-service restaurant for spectators, slot machines and fighting gaffes for fighting cocks.

It is alleged that on fight weekends at Big Blue, spectators and handlers traveled from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Georgia. The complaint further alleges that entrance fees at Big Blue were $250 per entry with approximately 100 total entries per derby.

The defendants were incarcerated after their arrests.  The Robinsons appeared in federal district court in Abingdon, today, and were released on bond.  The Stumbos appeared in federal district court in Pikeville, Kentucky, today, and were released on bond.  The Stumbos were directed to appear in federal district court in Abingdon tomorrow (Tuesday, May 6).  These are only charges and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer and Special Assistant United States Attorney Virginia and Assistant Attorney General Michelle Welch are prosecuting the federal case on behalf of the United States.  Ms. Welch will be prosecuting the state charges on behalf of the Wise Commonwealth's Attorney.  The case is being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Bureau of Law Enforcement, and the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office.  In addition, the following agencies assisted in the arrests or related proceedings:  Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force; Virginia State Police Tactical Team; Southwest Virginia Regional Task Force; Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; Wise County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office and Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; Virginia State Veterinarian's Office; United States Homeland Security Investigations; Kentucky State Police; the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky; and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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