From the NY Attorney General's office:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said two people have been arrested for allegedly breaking into and attempting
to steal about 50 chickens from a barn in Poland, Herkimer County.
The chickens had previously been rescued as part of the
Attorney General’s “Operation Bloodsport” -- a five-month investigation
into an alleged network of cockfighting in the Mohawk Valley that
resulted in 41 arrests, and the seizure of gamecocks, heroin, guns and
“It’s cruel, dangerous, and unlawful to torture animals for
entertainment – and even more egregious to break in and try to steal
those animals after their rescue,” said Schneiderman. “Poultry pilferers who try to fly the coop with our evidence will be brought to justice.”
Juan Jose Lucca Vega, 41, and Wanda Santos, 42, both of Utica,
were arrested Tuesday evening and charged with a felony county of burglary and a count of training an animal for animal fighting for amusement.
and Santos are alleged to have broken into a Herkimer barn Tuesday
night, where the Attorney General’s Office and the Herkimer County
Humane Society had moved the chickens following their rescue last
Prosecutors allege Vega and Santos broke padlocks
authorities had installed on the barn doors and attempted to remove about 50 chickens, which were being treated for injuries
sustained during cockfighting and are considered evidence in the case.
Vega and Santos were each arraigned in theNewport Town Court and
sent to the Herkimer County Jail.
Their relationship to the other 41
individuals arrested as part of Operation Bloodsport is under
As announced earlier this week, in "Operation Bloodsport" state
and local law enforcement agents – led by the New York State Attorney
General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State
Police – concluded a five-month investigation into a cockfighting
network that was operating prohibited cockfights at a landscaping
business in Herkimer County.
The operation drew participants from
numerous New York counties including Bronx, Erie, Herkimer, Monroe, New
York, Oneida, Onondaga and Queens.
The investigation resulted in the
arrests of 41 individuals on June 17th for allegedly operating an
illegal cockfighting operation in the town of Frankfort. Police seized
nearly 200 gamecocks that were turned over to the Herkimer County Humane
A subsequent search of an adjacent barn resulted in the discovery of a game bird breeding and training facility. Police
also seized bird-fighting paraphernalia, such as spurs or razors, which
are attached to a bird’s talons to increase the carnage of the fight.
In addition, heroin, several handguns, and over $68,000 in cash were
seized. This investigation is part of Schneiderman's
ongoing efforts to combat animal cruelty and illegal animal fighting
across New York state through his Animal Protection Initiative.