Tulare County deputies raid Woodlake cockfight, arrest 6

Fresno Bee file

Six men were arrested Sunday when Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies and other police officers raided a cockfight in an orange orchard near Woodlake.

A sheriff’s spokesman said deputies were sent to the orchard near Avenue 320 and Road 228 to investigate the illegal incident.

Since 2002, cockfighting, once legal in New Mexico, Louisiana and Oklahoma, has been banned by federal law, and was illegal in California long before that.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, cockfighting is also associated with drug dealing and illegal gun sales.

When deputies arrived, they witnessed several people gathered around a portable fighting ring in the middle of the grove, the spokesman reported. Several suspects ran. Deputies found several dead birds and 28 live birds that were turned over to animal control. Also recovered: fighting paraphernalia, including long blades that are attached to a rooster’s legs before a fight.

Arrested were Louie Miguel Florendo, 70, of Visalia; Ismael Arreazola, 52, of Fresno; Jerry Charles, 69, of Sanger; Robert Kruzic, 63, of Fresno; Jose Luis Nieto, 63, of Bakersfield; and Ricardo Valverde Aquino, 55, of Bakersfield.

Anyone with more information about the incident is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 1-800-808-0488.