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Cockfighting Ring Bust Ends in Multiple Arrests in City, More Upstate

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TWC News: Cockfighting Ring Bust Ends in Multiple Arrests in City, More Upstate
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Seven people in the city were arrested this weekend after investigators broke up what they called a massive cockfighting operation that reached up to the Catskills. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Investigators say dozens of roosters were set to fight to the death for people's amusement and financial gain.

Neighbors who live next to 7426 Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven may have heard signs of a cockfight but say they had no idea what was actually happening inside.

The state Attorney General's office raided the location Saturday night and says it found 70 people gambling or watching cockfights in a ring investigators believe was in operation since at least May.

The ASPCA says it rescued 65 fighting birds.

"There is nothing more vile, nothing more despicable then to profit off of the abuse of animals," said ASPCA CEO and President Matthew Bershadker.

State authorities charged six people at the Queens location with felony prohibition of animal fighting, while at the same time raiding Pet NV, a pet shop on Central Avenue in Brooklyn.

The 74-year-old owner faces the same charge.

In addition to 50 fighting birds recovered, authorities say they found cockfighting contraband such as artificial spurs and syringes used to inject performance enhancing drugs into the cocks.

The attorney general's organized crimes task force executed its final weekend raid in rural Ulster County.

The ASPCA recovered as many as 3,000 birds allegedly kept in deplorable conditions on a 90 acre farm.

Manager Manuel Cruz, 60, and Jesus Cruz, 37, a farm hand, were arrested.

For years, the AG says roosters were bred and trained at the farm for owners in multiple states and transported to the Queens and Brooklyn locations.

The most serious charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000 if convicted.

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