Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, May 8, 2014
6 Keys men arrested at cockfight

Five Key West men and one Key Largo man were among the around-200 people arrested a week ago in a large cockfighting ring busted by undercover Miami-Dade police, according to information released Wednesday by mainland police and prosecutors.

The Key West residents arrested were: Peter Bacle Jr., 32, Adam Barber, 49, Blake Barber, 27, Luis Blanco, 47, and George Walter Koehn Jr., 68. Juan Rodriguez, 54, of Key Largo was also arrested.

All were charged with third-degree felony attending the fighting or baiting of animals and all are tentatively scheduled to be arraigned on May 23 in Miami, said Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith.

Third-degree felonies are punishable by a maximum of five years in prison.

Miami-Dade police received a tip that people were gambling and selling drugs at a 4,454-square-foot home at 25425 SW 212th St. and undercover detectives posing as customers began buying drugs there, said spokeswoman Elena Hernandez.

While executing a search warrant there on April 24, police found large cockfighting ring in progress with about 200 people gambling, including those listed above, according to a press release. Other people there face gambling, gun and drug charges.

Police reportedly found guns, drugs and thousands of dollars in addition to dozens of roosters in cages.

The last cockfighting ring busted in the Keys occurred in 2012 at two properties on East Rockland Key, where wildlife officers rounded up 250 birds and made two arrests.

In January 2013, Jorge Enrique Blanco Jr. was sentenced to 45 days in jail, 100 hours of community service, followed by three years' probation and a total of $1,843 in fines, while his father, Jorge Enrique Blanco Sr. was sentenced to be on drug offender probation for two years and must complete a jail treatment program that typically lasts six to nine months.

There were so many birds confiscated in that raid, workers with the Humane Society assisted wildlife officers as well as the Florida Keys Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (FKSPCA) in finding them homes in farms elsewhere in Florida.

It is unclear if Luis Blanco is related to the father and son arrested in the 2013 case.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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