Who, age What Where Last known address When
Dale Edwards Moreland, 52 Operating a cockpit for Cockfighting

Luray, VA

Page County

Winchester, VA May 5, 2007
Luis Aguirre Martinez, 49 Owner of Little Boxwood Cockpit charged with Cockfighting

Luray, VA

Page County

Manassas, VA May 5, 2007
Charles Leo Kingrea, 60 operating a business that sold illegal cockfighting accessories

Luray, VA

Page County

Gordonsville, VA May 5, 2007
Albert C. Taylor, 66 paying a bribe for Cockfighting

Luray, VA

Page County

Luray, VA May 5, 2007
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved
Felony conspiracy charges related to sponsoring cockfights, gambling & money laundering roosters

Four men were indicted on felony cockfighting and related charges as a result of an undercover operation, a federal prosecutor said.  Read the Indictment

The charges arose from an operation that culminated with the May 5 raid of the Little Boxwood Cockpit in Page County, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said in a news release. The raid came two days after a federal law went into effect boosting cockfighting charges from misdemeanor to felony.

The four -- identified as Luis Aguirre Martinez, 49, of Manassas; Dale Edwards Moreland, 52, of Winchester; Albert C. Taylor, 65, of Luray; and Charles Leo Kingrea, 60, of Gordonsville -- face conspiracy charges related to sponsoring cockfights in which roosters were transported across state lines; illegal possession of gaffs and knives to be used in cockfights; operating a gambling enterprise; and money laundering.

Martinez is charged with being the owner of the cockpit and faces a prison term of up to 113 years and a fine of up to $2 million if convicted on all counts. Moreland is charged with operating the cockpit and faces 38 years in prison if convicted.

Taylor is charged with paying a bribe to a Page County official and faces up to 33 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million if convicted. Kingrea is charged with operating a business that sold illegal cockfighting accessories at the cockpit. He faces up to 13 years in prison and a $750,000 fine if convicted.

The 20-page indictment said investigators found bleachers and a concession stand at the cockpit, where participants paid between $75 and $400 for the chance to compete for purses as large as $21,000 in fights mostly to the death supervised by a referee.

If not killed during the fight, the indictment said, a rooster was almost always killed after it, the indictment said. The roosters were weighed before being paired off, and a series of fights on the same day at the cockpit was referred to as a derby.

The indictment, which said Little Boxwood could bring in as much as $5,000 a day, alleged that Martinez agree to sell it to an undercover agent for $275,000.

Update 3/18/08:  Two of four men charged with taking part in a cockfighting ring in Page County have pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Dale Edward Moreland, 52, of Winchester and Luis Aguirre Martinez, 49, of Manassas entered guilty pleas yesterday in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to one count of conspiracy and one of money laundering conspiracy.

Update 6/12/08:  A federal trial is under way for a Gordonsville man charged with four counts related to an alleged cockfighting ring.

A clerk said jurors were selected in Harrisonburg to hear the charges against 60-year-old Charles Leo Kingrea.

He is charged with conspiracy to engage in an animal-fighting venture, conspiracy to engage in gambling related to cockfighting and two other charges.

An exhibit list states the prosecution's graphic evidence includes a cockfighting video and photos of dead birds.

Update 6/13/08:  Less than two hours after they were given the case, a jury has found Charles Leo Kingrea guilty on three counts related to cockfighting in Page County.

  (Photo courtesy of Evan Dyson/the Daily News Record - Charles Kingrea leaves court with his wife and defense lawyer Edward Childress (left) after the prosecution presented its case)

Kingrea was found guilty Friday in U.S. District Court of conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture of cockfighting and a conspiracy to engage in gambling related to cockfighting.

He was also found guilty on two additional counts of engaging in a conspiracy to sell, buy, transport or deliver a gaff or knife to be used in cockfighting and being a principal or an aider or abettor in a gambling business associated with cockfighting.

Kingrea will be formally sentenced along with Luis Aguirre Martinez and Dale Edward Moreland, who already entered guilty pleas. The sentencing date is October 3.

Kingrea will be allowed to remain out of jail on a $10,000 unsecured bond until his sentencing.

These charges stem from a raid was conducted at the Little Boxwood cockfighting site in May 2007. Four men were indicted in September, including Kingrea.

The U.S. Attorney says Kingrea had a stand at Little Boxwood selling gaffs and knives, which are items attached to the feet of roosters so they can cut each other.

The U.S. Attorney says Kingrea's role in the conspiracy was to provide the tools of the trade.

The defense says Kingrea did have the concession stand, but he was an independent contractor and not in a conspiracy.

The defense attorney argued that Kingrea was a small fish in a big net.

Update 10/15/08:  Dale Edward Moreland, of Winchester was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Harrisonburg.

Under a plea agreement he reached with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, Moreland pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and animal fighting venture and one count of money laundering.

In a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court, Moreland’s attorney Andrea Lantz Harris of Charlottesville said the defendant was not aware that cockfighting was a felony.

Involvement in animal fighting become a felony in Virginia May 3, 2007 — two days before federal agents raided Little Boxwood.

Harris argued in court documents that Moreland became involved in cockfighting as a result of his upbringing.

“Moreland was first introduced to cockfighting as a small child growing up in rural Virginia,” the court document states. “His grandfather, great-grandfather, and numerous uncles and other relatives own and raised game roosters. They also engaged in cockfighting. It was a way of life common to many of Moreland’s family members and neighbors and had been for generations.”

Also Charles Leo Kingrea, 62, of Gordonsville was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement after previously being found guilty of conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture or gambling related to cockfighting, conspiracy to sell or transport knives to be used in cockfighting, and serving as a principal who aided a gambling operation tied to cockfighting.

Cases are pending for the two other defendants charged in the cockfighting ring — Luis Aguirre Martinez of Manassas and Albert C. Taylor of Luray.

Martinez reached a plea agreement and is scheduled to be sentenced next month, while Taylor is set for trial in December, according to court records.

Update 12/18/08:  A man accused of bribing the Page County sheriff has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Albert Taylor, 66, of Luray entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg. Five other charges were dismissed.

Prosecutors say they expect Taylor to testify in the federal racketeering case against Page Sheriff Daniel W. Presgraves (see Page County official).

Taylor was indicted in September 2007 after a raid at a cockfighting pit known as Little Boxwood near Stanley.

Taylor admitted that he paid a $500 bribe that was eventually deposited into Presgraves' election campaign account. Presgraves said the payment was a political contribution.

Taylor's sentencing is set for April 23. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Reference:

Richmond Times- Dispatch

US Attorney's Office - Western District, VA