LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County man who sold and shipped barbed hooks, razor-sharp blades and “rooster vitamins” for use in cockfighting pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge that could put him behind bars for five years.
Omar Olmos Salazar, 34, entered his plea in Los Angeles federal court to selling and transporting sharp instruments for use in an animal fighting venture. The felony carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Mitchell.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter set sentencing for Aug. 12.
Defense attorneys attempted unsuccessfully to have the judge close the courtroom to a City News Service reporter, who was the only person in the gallery.
Salazar advertised his mail-order cockfighting paraphernalia business on Instagram, where it came to the attention of a postal inspector, according to a sealed plea agreement read into the court record by a defense attorney.
Along with gaffs, knives, mounting blocks, puppets and other items, Salazar sold antibiotics and vitamin supplements for use in the illegal blood sport, in which onlookers place bets on gamecocks that battle until one dies.
In January 2018, an undercover agent responded to Salazar’s ad, purchased $325 worth of cockfighting items and had them shipped to a post office box in Las Vegas, according to a defense lawyer.
A cock fight generally lasts a from a few minutes to about a half- hour. Although not all fights result in the death of the bird, resulting major trauma is quite common. The secretive activity has been banned in California for decades.