Accused "kingpin of cockfighting" arrested in Texas

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2012 10:14 PM
Accused "kingpin of cockfighting" arrested in Texas

By Jared Taylor

EDINBURG, Texas (Reuters) - Deputies arrested a purported "kingpin of cockfighting" who they said profited off a Texas cockfighting ring that was the scene of an ambush last week where masked gunmen killed three men and wounded eight others, the local sheriff said on Thursday.

Guadalupe Garza Herrera, who owns a chain of transmission repair shops in South Texas, was arrested and charged with cockfighting and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Garza Herrera, 41, doubled as the "kingpin of cockfighting" locally, Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. He said Garza Herrera operated several rings across Hidalgo County, including one where masked gunmen opened fire on about 200 spectators and participants on April 19.

"If he's not the biggest, he's one of the biggest here in Hidalgo County," Trevino said. "He's been around for a while, but cockfighting is his thing."

Garza Herrera's arrest marked the fourth suspect charged in suspicion of profiting off the cockfighting ring. Deputies have not yet arrested any of the gunmen who Trevino said fired "indiscriminately" in the ambush earlier this month. Little is known about the attackers.

Emergency calls disclosed after the shootout described a chaotic scene, with back-and-forth gunfire.

"There was a machine gun," one woman told a dispatcher. "There's everything, ma'am. There's a shootout."

Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Homer Jasso set Garza Herrera's bond at $1.25 million on the two felony charges.

Cockfighting, where roosters are equipped with spurs on their legs in a fight to the death, is illegal across the United States. Trevino, whose jurisdiction covers about 800,000 people along the U.S.-Mexico border, said cockfighting remained popular, even if it was against the law.

"They don't see it as a crime," the sheriff said. "Culturally, it may be accepted, but nonetheless, it's still against the laws in the state of Texas, and we're going to enforce them."

(Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)