Jose Perez and

Silvestre Rodela

cockfighting - 60+ birds seized

Albuquerque, NM

Bernalillo County

June 21, 2008

Dozens of fighting roosters were seized and two men arrest during a raid on a cockfighting operation outside of Albuquerque, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.

Some of the seized birds were dead while others were injured. The birds that survived are now in the custody of the Albuquerque city Animal Services Department.

Sheriff's investigators said several people fled the scene when deputies arrived at the property on Pajarito Road SW on the far west mesa late Friday night. A mobile home, barn and a small trailer occupied the property.

Deputies were called to the scene by someone who reported a cockfighting operation on the property. One of the men found at the scene allegedly admitted he observed cockfights over a half-hour period.

"We'll look at who these people are that own this property and try to take that information and see if from there it can lead us in other paths to other people who may be participating in cockfighting," Sheriff Darren White told KRQE News 13.

The deputy who was first on scene reported what appeared to be a lookout vehicle near the property. Investigators reported finding talon blades and sheets of paper that appeared to be records of wins and losses.

Cockfighting became illegal in New Mexico one year ago.

Jose Perez, 70, and Silvestre Rodela, 48, are both charged with extreme cruelty to animals, conspiracy and resisting, evading, or obstructing an officer.