138 Performance-Enhanced Roosters Euthanized After Cockfighting Raid

Six roosters were shipped to animal control authorities in Albuquerque after a raid on an alleged cockfight in southern New Mexico, but 138 other roosters were euthanized, officials said.

The Otero County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday released the names of four Chaparral men cited in connection with Saturday's raid on the alleged cockfight in that community: Armando Gutierrez, 34; Leobardo Salguero, 54; Rene Antillon, 51; and Francisco Maese, 50.

New Mexico banned cockfighting this year, and the new law went into effect in mid-June. It makes participating in a cockfight a misdemeanor for the first two offenses and a felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison for subsequent offenses.

Otero County Undersheriff Norbert Sanchez said his office received tips from the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department and the attorney general's Animal Cruelty Task Force that there was going to be a cockfighting "Christmas Derby" in Chaparral. The Otero County sheriff obtained a search warrant for a Chaparral address based on those calls, he said.

Sanchez said people fled the area when officers arrived.

The raid, which involved more than 100 officers from various jurisdictions, resulted in the confiscation of 144 roosters. Deputies also seized cash, syringes, spurs used on roosters, computers and other paraphernalia that authorities said showed evidence of cockfighting.

"We also seized $22,000 in cash and ledgers that showed evidence of gambling," Sanchez said.

The birds that were euthanized were all examined by a veterinarian and a forensics expert, Sanchez said.

"The vet said they would not have survived in captivity in their condition because they were so shot up with steroids and amphetamines to enhance performance," he said.

A second search warrant served on an adjoining residence turned up more cockfighting evidence, Sanchez said.

Last week, state District Judge William McBee of Lovington rejected a challenge to the cockfighting ban that had been filed by the New Mexico Gamefowl Breeders Association and six businessmen.