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Sunnyside man one of 18 charged in cock fighting derbies

PORTLAND, ORE. – A federal grand jury has indicted 18 defendants – including Eduardo Cisneros, 27, of Sunnyside - on various charges in connection with an alleged cock fighting operation in Irrigon, Morrow County, Oregon.

The operation allegedly involved 10 “derbies” occurring from April 1, 2012, through May 19, 2013.

Arrests were made yesterday, Thursday, at various sites in Oregon and Washington. 

Department of Justice officials said those arrested in Oregon were scheduled to appear for arraignment before a federal magistrate in Portland today. 

Those arrested in Washington will appear for arraignment before a federal magistrate in Yakima.

Six people, all from Oregon, are charged with operating an illegal gambling business.

Justice officials say those six are also charged, along with 12 others that include Cisneros, with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act by conducting unlawful animal fighting ventures on 10 occasions. 

The additional 12 defendants include six other men from the Yakima Valley. They are Mauro Gonzalez Pulido, 47, of Zillah; Ruben Saltos Godina, 42, of Moxee; Eulalio Delamora Anguiano, 44, of Moxee; Oscar Acosta Navarrete, 46, of Prosser; Gerardo Gomez Castillo, 54, of Wapato; and Valente Piedra Magana, 38, of Union Gap.

“Cock fighting is illegal under federal law and under the laws of all 50 states,” Amanda Marshall, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, stated.  “Besides being a barbaric practice, cock fighting jeopardizes public health and safety and facilitates the commission of other criminal acts,” she added.

Each of the charged offenses – illegal gambling (one count), unlawful animal fighting venture (10 counts), and conspiracy (one count) – carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The indictment also alleges that, upon conviction of illegal gambling, defendants John Wesley Walker and Irina Walker are subject to the forfeiture of their real property and buildings used in the gambling business, located on Depot Lane in Irrigon. The Department of Justice notes all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Oregon State Police, the Washington State Gaming Commission and the Blue Mountain (Oregon) Narcotics Team. 

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