Pablo Lopez Curiel, Cockfighting discovered during drug bust, 80 birds seized

Corning, CA

Tehama County

October 30, 2008
Joe Augustinho Sousa,      
Eric Moreno,      
Rafael Cruz-Aguilera,      
Juan Manuel Pulido Arteaga,      
Jose Alaniz-Santos and      
Not disclosed - male      

State drug enforcement officials thought they were on a routine pot bust in Tehama County when whey discovered a cockfighting ring.

The California Multi-jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team had been monitoring a house in Corning for a month, when they conducted the raid.  They were surprised to find 80 chickens and a cockfighting ring.

Acting team Commander Lee James said the ring showed signs of use.  Other items discovered include bladed devices designed to be attached to birds' legs.

Seven people were arrested during the raid on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime and giving away, transporting or selling marijuana.

Update 11/2/08:  The California Multi-jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team discovered 110 pounds of marijuana and three guns.

But after a month of surveillance the Harden Avenue residence the biggest surprise for CalMMET acting Commander Lee James was the discovery of a cock-fighting ring complete with about 80 chickens and roosters, bladed devices designed for attaching to bird legs and a fighting ring marked off by a plywood wall about 3 feet high.

"We knew there were coops," James said. "But the team had no idea one of the buildings on the property also housed a cockfighting ring."

Although the hay bales surrounding the ring were well-worn and showed evidence of use, the team has found no evidence that the ring was used for betting, he said.

According to Tehama County Sheriff's Office logs, at least one rooster will face euthanasia.

All seven of the men associated with the property were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime and giving away, transporting or selling marijuana. The arrested include:

Pablo Lopez Curiel, 60, Corning; Joe Augustinho Sousa, 40, Orland; Eric Moreno, 23, Anderson; Rafael Cruz-Aguilera, 26, Cottonwood; Juan Manuel Pulido Arteaga, 41, Red Bluff; Jose Alaniz-Santos, 32, residence unknown and 1 not disclosed male.

Each is being held on bail of $150,000, with the exceptions of Cruz-Aguilera, Moreno and Alaniz-Santos, who both have bail set at $35,000.

Reference:

The Associated Press

Chico Enterprise-Record

The Mercury News

Record Searchligth