Family Sentenced By Feds For Running ‘One Of The Largest Cockfighting Enterprises’ In The US

Family Sentenced By Feds For Running ‘One Of The Largest Cockfighting Enterprises’ In The US

(Pixabay)

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA – A seventh and final Verbena, Alabama, resident was sentenced yesterday for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting ventures in connection with an expansive cockfighting operation. This marks the end of a series of sentencings in which the Court held four Alabama residents accountable for their roles in operating a large-scale cockfighting arena (cockfighting pit) and massive fighting-bird breeding businesses, and for conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act and to operate an illegal gambling business. The Court determined that the illegal conduct involved animal fighting on an “exceptional scale” and imposed sentences which reflect the unusual cruelty of a business model that relies on the death or injury of thousands of birds for entertainment and profit.

The court issued the following sentences for four defendants who pleaded guilty to multiple felonies on August 5:

  • On Dec. 6, George William “Billy” Easterling, 56, was sentenced to 22 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting and for conspiring with others to violate the Act in connection with the cockfighting pit and the Swift Creek Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
  • On Nov. 30, Brent Colon Easterling, 38, was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting and for conspiring with others to violate the Act in connection with the cockfighting pit and the L&L Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
  • On Nov. 30, William “Tyler” Easterling, 30, was sentenced to 20 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting and for conspiring with others to violate the Act in connection with the cockfighting pit and the Swift Creek Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
  • On Nov. 30, William Colon “Jim” Easterling, 77, was sentenced to two years of home detention — rather than incarceration which the court determined would be “extremely detrimental” to his declining health — and a fine of $8,000 for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting ventures and for conspiring with others to violate the Act and to operate an illegal gambling business in connection with the cockfighting pit.

Three other residents of Verbena, Alabama, who are also members of the Easterling family, pleaded guilty on June 3 to conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act or to a substantive violation of the Act.  On Oct.13, the following individuals were sentenced:

  • Kassi Brook Easterling, 39, was sentenced to two years of probation, including six months of home detention, for conspiring with others to violate the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting ventures, including the sale of cockfighting knives, and for her involvement with the L&L Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
  • Amber Nicole Easterling, 25, was sentenced to one year of probation for her involvement with the cockfighting pit.
  • Thomas Glyn “Junior” Williams, 34, was sentenced to one year of probation for his involvement with the cockfighting pit and the Swift Creek Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.

“These sentences demonstrate the importance of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act to ensure the humane treatment of animals and prohibit cruel practices such as cockfighting,” said United States Attorney Sandra Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama.

“As these sentences vividly show, the Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who encourage and profit from forcing animals to fight each other for human entertainment,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG) actively investigates allegations of animal abuse and any associated gambling activities,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Williams of the USDA-OIG. “This agency has made animal fighting a high priority to demonstrate that these blatant acts of cruelty to animals will not be tolerated. We would like to thank the Justice Department for aggressively prosecuting perpetrators of animal fighting and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners for assisting in enforcing these federal statutes.”

According to court documents and information in the public record, from at least January 2018 through June 11, 2021, illegal cockfighting events were held at the cockfighting pit, which consisted of an arena with stadium-style seating for approximately 150 people which faced several cockfighting pits and several nearby outbuildings including a merchandise stand. The illegal derbies involved a series of cockfights in which at least two or more roosters fought each other, each with a sharp blade attached to its leg. These fights were conducted for the purpose of sport, wagering, and entertainment. Participants were charged expensive fees to enter their birds in the derbies – such as $1,500 to fight seven roosters – and told what weapons to strap to the roosters’ legs, such as short knives, long knives, or spurs. Consistent with his plea agreement, William Colon Easterling dismantled and destroyed the entire cockfighting arena and associated outbuildings.

Near the cockfighting pit, members of the Easterling family ran two large fighting-bird breeding businesses known as Swift Creek Gamefarm and L&L Gamefarm at which thousands of birds were bred and sold to be used in fights between two or more birds for the purposes of sport, wagering, or entertainment.

Combined, the seven convicted members of the Easterling family helped run one of the largest cockfighting enterprises in the country. With the help of six of his family members, Jim Easterling owned and operated the cockfighting pit for many years, even enlisting his granddaughter, Amber Easterling, to sell weapons used to kill birds in cockfights at the merchandise stand. Brent Easterling was one of the most widely known fighting-bird breeders in the country, running L&L Gamefarm with his wife Kassi Easterling and charging $1,500 for three chickens because they were birds of select fighting pedigrees. Brent Easterling also promoted the cockfights at his father’s, Jim, cockfighting pit. Tyler Easterling helped his father, Billy Easterling, operate a vast fighting-bird breeding business known as Swift Creek Gamefarm where they employed their in-law, Junior Williams, and others to help maintain and ship fighting birds. Tyler Easterling also promoted several cockfights at his grandfather’s, Jim, cockfighting pit.

The USDA-OIG and Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina provided invaluable assistance to federal law enforcement officers.


DOJ

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St. Paul Police Release Body Camera Footage Of Deadly Encounter

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – Authorities on Thursday released body camera footage and images from the St. Paul police shooting that left Howard Johnson dead. According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, Johnson, 24, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with Sgt. Cody Blanshan in St. Paul on Monday, Dec. 5.

Read more here.

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‘Boo-effing-hoo. He’s cold.’: Ex-NYPD officer sentenced in son’s freezing death

‘Boo-effing-hoo. He’s cold.’: Ex-NYPD officer sentenced in son’s freezing death

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (PIX11) – Former NYPD police officer Michael Valva was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Thursday for the hypothermia death of his 8-year-old son, Thomas, in 2020. Before a packed courtroom, Valva broke down as he expressed remorse.

Read more from WPIX here.

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Man Shot, Killed By Woman With Baby After Attempting To Force His Way Into Her Apartment In Houston

Man Shot, Killed By Woman With Baby After Attempting To Force His Way Into Her Apartment In Houston

HOUSTON (KPRC) – A man was shot to death Wednesday after police say he tried to force his way into a woman’s apartment in southeast Houston, according to the Houston Police Department. The shooting was reported around 3 p.m. at an apartment complex located in the 8900 block of Broadway Street.

Read more from KPRC here.

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Operation ‘Santa’s Naughty Lil Sellers’ Yields $5.7M Worth Of Drugs In Flagler County, Fla.

Operation ‘Santa’s Naughty Lil Sellers’ Yields $5.7M Worth Of Drugs In Flagler County, Fla.

FCSO

Enough Heroin/Fentanyl Seized with the Potential to Kill Over 2.3 million People

BUNNELL, FL – $5,700,000 of illegal drugs are now off the streets of Flagler County as the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Special Investigations Unit (SIU) concludes a nearly year-long countywide undercover operation focused on drug dealers that started in January 2022.

During the investigation SIU seized enough Heroin/Fentanyl to potentially kill over 2.3 million people. Over 123 kilograms of various illegal drugs were seized during Operation Santa’s Naughty Lil Sellers, including cocaine, heroin/fentanyl, morphine, synthetic cathinones (MDMA), morphine, suboxone, steroids, psilocybin (mushrooms), dilaudid, methamphetamines and marijuana. 24 search warrants were served and 13 firearms – seven rifles and six handguns – along with $41,989 cash were seized during the investigation.

The investigation resulted in 35 arrest warrants and a total of 58 charges. Arrests started at 6am this morning and will continue until all suspects are arrested, according to Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly.

“I want to commend our undercover team, Special Investigations Unit, SWAT, Evidence, CSI, PACE Unit, our detention and booking teams along with our patrol deputies who were all involved in this 11-month investigation,” Sheriff Staly added. “I especially want to thank our community that when they saw something suspicious in their neighborhood, they said something. We investigate every tip, and today you see the results of your tips. We will never know how many overdoses or deaths we prevented with this undercover operation.”

30 of the 35 suspects investigated during this operation face at least one charge of selling or intent to sell illegal drugs, including three whose identities are being withheld as investigators continue to actively work these cases.

The remaining five suspects have at least one charge of possession of illegal drugs. Most of the suspects are Flagler County residents.

Among the more notable suspects arrested or being sought are:

– Mitchell Sims III, who has been charged with selling fentanyl and cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school – Tyshawn Laster, who has been charged with trafficking in fentanyl. Also, among the 35 suspects being sought are his father (Russell Laster) and brother (Russell Laster Jr.).

– Camarie Shavers and his brother Alfred Shavers Jr., both of whom are charged with selling cocaine.

– Teratheo Brown, who has been charged with trafficking in methamphetamine

– Ruben Boatwright, who has been charged with selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school

– Jovawn McClendon, who has been charged with selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of a specified area

– Ashley Ruffin, who has been charged with selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of a specified area

Additional charges are forthcoming against some of the suspects as they were found with additional drugs during today’s warrant sweep, according to Sheriff Staly.

“If you are listed and have not been arrested yet, just call us or go to the Green Roof Inn on Justice Lane in Bunnell and turn yourself in,” Sheriff Staly noted. “That way, you don’t have to look over your shoulder wondering when we will arrest you because I promise you, if you are one of these poison peddlers, we will get you. This should also be a warning to drug dealers that, if you are not listed on these boards in this operation, I suggest you get out of Flagler County because you are next! And if you sell a fatal dose of poison, we will investigate you until we can lock you up for murder.”


FCSO

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SHOCK VIDEO: Knife-Wielding California Man Shot Dead After Breaking Window, Chasing Principal At Church School

SHOCK VIDEO: Knife-Wielding California Man Shot Dead After Breaking Window, Chasing Principal At Church School

Mariposa, California — On November 30, 2022, shortly after 9:00 a.m., 24-year-old Joshua Antelope was seen by school staff outside of the First Baptist Church/School carrying a knife. Antelope broke a window in a room where Church/School staff were present. Antelope was confronted by the principal and Antelope tried to chase him. The Principal was able to get back into the school, lock the doors with the help of school staff and placed the school on lockdown.

At 9:15 a.m. – The 911 call was made by the Principal.

9:18:09 a.m.- Deputy Maya and Deputy Atkinson arrived on scene and contacted Antelope. Deputy Maya and Deputy Atkinson both give several commands to Antelope to drop the knife. Antelope does not drop the knife and continues to advance towards Deputy Maya. Deputy Maya shoots Antelope twice in the chest/torso area.

9:18:29 a.m. – Deputy Maya reported shots fired over the radio.

Immediately following the shooting, Deputies rendered medical aid and began lifesaving measures. Antelope later succumbed to his injuries. Antelope had been carrying a 12 inch-long butcher knife, according to the department. All deputies involved in the shooting were immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure.

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Man gets 82 years for brutally beating, sexually assaulting man during random, half-hour bar attack

PEARLAND, Texas – A Pearland man was sentenced to 82 years in prison for brutally beating and sexually assaulting a man at a northwest Harris County bar.

“This was a savage and unprovoked attack on a stranger that continued to escalate until the authorities broke it up,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Random violence can never be tolerated, and we agree with the jury that this man should be sent to prison for decades.”

Felix Vale, 38, was convicted of aggravated sexual assault Tuesday for his role in beating a fellow patron at a bar unconscious and then continuing to beat and assault him on Feb. 17, 2021.

The 49-year-old victim and a friend had gone to a bar in the 17000 block of Ella Boulevard for a few drinks. Surveillance video showed they were peacefully sitting at the bar when they were confronted by an angry couple, Felix Vale and Ariel Cordoba.

The couple left the bar and returned about 10 minutes later. They then attacked the victim, who was knocked unconscious within the first five seconds of the beating. The couple continued to hit the victim with their fists, feet, a barstool and a gun for almost a half-hour until deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office arrived. The attack happened during Houston’s historic ice storm, which delayed law enforcement.

During the beating, the couple took the victim’s wallet and sexually assaulted him. He underwent several surgeries related to the attack and continues to recover.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Volkmer, who prosecuted the case with ADA Jarrell Gibson, said jurors wanted to send a message that a crime this serious would be punished just as seriously.

“We told the jury that this case would probably be the hardest thing they would ever have to listen to or see video of, and it was,” he said. “They wanted to send a message to the community, to the defendant and the co-defendant and most importantly to the victim that the prison sentence should be as severe as what he went through.”

Volkmer also thanked the witnesses for their bravery in facing the defendant in court and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for its hard work.

Vale was sentenced by a jury after a four-day trial. The case against Cordoba, 31, is pending. She has pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced Dec. 19.


GCDAO

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High-Ranking Aryan Circle Gang Leader and Member Sentenced on Racketeering-Related Violations

High-Ranking Aryan Circle Gang Leader and Member Sentenced on Racketeering-Related Violations

(Photo via iStock)

Two members of the Aryan Circle were sentenced this week for crimes they committed as part of their roles in the white supremacy prison gang.

William Glenn Chunn, aka Big Head, 40, of Conroe, Texas, was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) violations stemming from his leadership in the organization. On Nov. 26, 2021, he was convicted by a jury in the Eastern District of Texas of racketeering conspiracy for an attempted murder he ordered relating to a violent stabbing. On Oct. 3, he was also convicted by a jury in the Southern District of Mississippi of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) Attempted Murder and is awaiting sentencing in that case.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Aryan Circle is a race-based and violent prison gang with hundreds of members operating throughout the country, both inside and outside of prisons. The Aryan Circle enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through threats, intimidation, and acts of violence including, but not limited to, acts involving assault and murder. Members are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members without question.

Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Chunn is one of the highest-ranking Aryan Circle leaders in the nation. He used his leadership role to order violent stabbings against rival gang members and other victims, as well as to seek out and retaliate against those he believed were cooperating with law enforcement.

In another case, Mitchell Farkas, aka Lifter, 52, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced on Dec. 5 to 30 years in prison for VICAR Attempted Murder and related charges stemming from his role in a separate violent prison stabbing he committed on behalf of the Aryan Circle. On Aug. 10, he was convicted by a jury in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Farkas, along with another Aryan Circle member, stabbed an inmate at USP Big Sandy in Martin County, Kentucky, who the Aryan Circle believed had violated gang rules. As a result, the victim permanently lost vision in one eye.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston for the Eastern District of Texas, and U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier, IV for the Eastern District of Kentucky made the announcement.


DOJ

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