Six Arrested in Cock Fighting Ring are Illegal Immigrants

Six prisoners in the Starke County jail who were arrested for their involvement in a cock fighting ring in Starke County are illegal immigrants are being held for immigration officials.  The six, along with five others, have been charged with Animal Fighting Contest, a Class D Felony. Four of those prisoners have bonded out of jail. Bonds were set at $10-15,000 surety in Starke Circuit Court Monday afternoon.

Starke County Prosecutor, Nicholas Bourff, said the Animal Fighting Contest charge was bumped up to a Felony charge because those eleven individuals brought in the birds to fight. More charges could be filed against those involved if the Prosecutor and the Sheriff’s Department can find that the same individuals were involved in a similar cock fighting incident in 2006 where 50 people were arrested. Prosecutor Bourff said that could be a challenge as many of these individuals change the spelling of their names and use many aliases.

Bourff said he hopes that he can get money through a citation or fine from those arrested to help pay the Starke County Humane Society for euthanization costs and the Starke County Sheriff’s Department for overtime pay. Bourff said that the Humane Society is requesting that a $75.00 fine be attached to every citation which numbers 65. Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen is to give Bourff a list of all of the Department’s expenditures for reimbursement.

Initial hearings for the eleven defendants charged with felonies will be held Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CT in Starke Circuit Court.