BALDY MESA – Two Lancaster men were among dozens arrested Sunday afternoon when San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies raided a cockfighting ring in Baldy Mesa, an unincorporated town east of Victorville.
Gerardo Altamirano, 40, and Adan Martinez, 54, were arrested by Victor Valley Station deputies for being animal fighting spectators. Both Lancaster men were cited and released late Sunday night.
A total of 47 suspects were arrested during the raid on charges such as Animal Cruelty, Cockfighting, and Animal Fighting Spectator. Authorities say the large scale operation had more than 300 spectators in attendance. Deputies seized about 92 roosters identified as fighting birds, and over $21,000 in cash that was being used for gambling on the fights.
The following is the press report from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Station:
On Sunday, January 8, 2012, at approximately 11:30 a.m., deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Victor Valley Station, assisted by deputies from the Hesperia, Victorville, Apple Valley Stations and deputies from the Rural Crimes Task Force arrested 47 suspects on felony and misdemeanor charges for their involvement in a cockfighting ring.
Victor Valley deputies received an anonymous report of illegal cockfighting taking place at a private residence in the 9000 block of Hollister Rd. in the unincorporated Baldy Mesa area of the High Desert.
When deputies arrived they found a large scale cockfighting operation in progress inside a barn to the rear of the property with over 300 persons in attendance. Most of the attendees fled on foot while deputies attempted to detain as many as possible. Deputies discovered numerous items of evidence including several dead roosters on the ground and in barrels around the fighting arena.
Deputies seized approximately 92 roosters identified as fighting birds, and over $21,000 in cash that was being used for gambling on the fights. Forty seven suspects were arrested for charges such as Animal Cruelty, Cockfighting, and Animal Fighting Spectator. Fernando Hernandez was identified as the owner of the property and the organizer of the event. Hernandez fled the location when deputies arrived and remains outstanding.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Deputy Howe at 760-868-1006. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).