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Suspected cockfighting ring linked to drug trafficking organization

10:01 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KUSA) -- Two major criminal investigations are underway and they could be connected, 9Wants to Know has learned.

One investigation involves drug trafficking, the other involves cockfighting.

The search for drug suspects led investigators to a house on the 6300 block of West Mississippi in Lakewood, where they found evidence of a cockfighting ring.

A photo released by Jefferson County shows some of the 70 roosters seized, which appear to be the type of bird commonly used for cockfighting.

Deputies also seized what they describe as a cockfighting "training ring," and gaffs, which are small spikes tied to a rooster's legs.

The roosters were located near a busy road and populated area, right next to a fire department substation.

Raymond Taylor said he heard the roosters next door to his automotive business, but had no idea those roosters were part of a suspected cockfighting ring, until an early morning raid last week.

"It was a bunch of cops going down there, picking up the cocks and fighting roosters," Taylor said. "Nothing surprises me anymore."

Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink says a six-month investigation of suspected drug traffickers called "Operation Blood Sport" led investigators to the house where the roosters were seized.

"It didn't take long to put two and two together - that there may be some illegal activity in the form of fighting those animals. There's big money in that. There's big money bet at those cock fights. It's a way to live a lifestyle that they have chosen, that is supported by the importation of the drugs," Mink said.

The seized fighting roosters are being held in a secret location, to keep them from falling back into the wrong hands.

A 49 count First Judicial District criminal indictment names 16 people, mostly US citizens, accused of driving cocaine and crystal meth from California and Arizona and selling it in cities all over the metro area, including Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, and Edgewater.

Jefferson and Gilpin County District Attorney Scott Storey said the indictments will help slow the flow of illegal drugs, which are creeping into schools and neighborhoods, and falling into the hands of teenagers.

"I think this is probably a drop in the bucket," Storey said. "And it certainly has an impact on all the citizens."

Photos from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show an SUV recently pulled over near Edgewater, full of secret compartments holding a quarter million dollars in cocaine and crystal meth.

$28,000 in cash was wrapped and hidden in the SUV's bumper, and investigators also seized four weapons from the vehicle, which was stopped at the intersection of 26th and Sheridan.

DEA Denver Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach says Denver is a drug trafficking hub because of the interstates, and not all the drugs brought here are distributed locally.

"Some of it stays, some of it goes. If it was all landing in our general areas, we would probably be the walking dead," Roach said.

Six of the 16 suspected drug traffickers who were indicted are still on the run and investigators say they could be hiding out anywhere.

Those six are identified as Francisco M. Barragan, Francisco Leon, Homero Reynosa Cardenas, Jesse Rubio, Manuel Carrola-Hernandez, and Oswaldo Rodriguez-Sanchez.

If you have any information on those six suspects, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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