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Two Charged for Illegal Cockfighting in Violation of the Animal Welfare Act in Bakersfield

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date

FRESNO, Calif. — Today, a federal grand jury charged Jorge Calderon-Campos, 41, and Horacio Ortega-Martinez, 35, both Mexican nationals residing in Bakersfield, in separate indictments with unlawful possession of animals for an animal fighting venture, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Calderon-Campos and Ortega-Martinez communicated frequently throughout February 2022 about illegal cockfighting events, including an event Calderon-Campos attended on February 12 at which 15 roosters fought to win a $5,000 purse. On April 26, 2022, numerous law enforcement agencies served a search warrant at Ortega-Martinez’s residence and discovered approximately 250 roosters, approximately 250 “gaffs” (razor-sharp steel blades that are tied to the birds’ legs), training mitts commonly used for training and fighting roosters, and miscellaneous antibiotics, vitamins, and supplements that are commonly used for breeding and training roosters for fighting.

Calderon-Campos and Ortega-Martinez were arrested on April 26, 2022, along with six other Kern County residents who were also charged with various drug trafficking offenses in a separate indictment returned today.

This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, the Kern County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bakersfield Police Department, the Kern County Probation Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher D. Baker is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Calderon-Campos and Ortega-Martinez face a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.