Image by Flickr user heypatrick
There are 23 accused South Carolina cockfight organizers, referees and money collectors facing up to five years in federal prison, and 36 charged in state courts who face a maximum three-year sentence.
Read more stories on this subject in our cock fighting topic page."This is serious organized gambling and serious organized fighting," U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said, holding up a razor-sharp spur like those fastened to rooster's legs. "And if you're giong to do it and hold it on your property, we're going to come after your property."
The penalty for cockfighting in South Carolina has increased since 2007 from a 30-day jail term or a $100 fine, to potentially facing a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for the first offense, and three years in jail and a $3,000 fine for a second offense.
"Unless you're involved in it, you don't know much about it and it's hard to belieive that it's goin on, but we know from news of the last several years that there are a lot of these fights that go on, on different scales," said State Attorney General Henry McMaster.
The investigation is still ongoing and Wilkins says future arrests could be made if more cockfighting venues are discovered.
The State has done nice reporting on the matter and its scope, read it over here.