Claim: South Seattle man spent hundreds importing fighting cocks

FUENTE: SEATTLE PI

By LEVI PULKKINEN
SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Prosecutors have filed animal-fighting charges against a South Seattle man accused of spending $1,650 to bring fighting cocks to the state.

According to charging documents, Seattle Animal Shelter investigators were called to the 4200 block of South Kenyon Street late last year after neighbors reported seeing several injured birds as well as dozens of chickens and ducks wandering the property.

Pointing to receipts and a large quantity of cockfighting-related website traffic — including visits to a website devoted to a rooster blinded while fighting — King County prosecutors have charged 29-year-old Hoa Kien Phan with animal fighting.

Investigators arriving at the home on Dec. 11 found 20 to 30 birds, including ducks, chickens and eight to 10 roosters tied to teepees in the backyard. Searching the area, authorities found one dead rooster and another with damage to its right eye.

Speaking with investigators days later, Phan allegedly denied fighting the birds, Seattle Police Detective Danial Conine told the court. Asked why he would pay hundreds of dollars to buy the roosters, the detective continued, Phan was at a loss.

“Phan was unable to explain why he was willing to spend $1,650 for 11 chickens and pay hundreds of dollars to have them shipped from Minnesota to Washington if they were just to be used as pets, since local chickens can be purchased for just a few dollars each,” Conine said in court documents.

According to the charging document, the man who sold Phan the roosters was connected to men charged with cockfighting in Minnesota.

Reviewing Phan’s Internet history, investigators found Phan had been frequenting cockfighting-related websites, Conine told the court. One contained a biography of the “12x blind warrior,” a Vietnamese rooster that killed two cocks after being blinded in both eyes.

Charged with a single count of animal fighting, Phan has not been jailed in the case.

The charges follow earlier, apparently unrelated cases against several other King County men accused in cockfighting rings.

Filing charges in late December, prosecutors charged three of 13 men arrested near an apparent cockfighting arena on an undeveloped tract of land near Auburn. Separately, prosecutors filed animal fighting charges against a Kent man authorities contend operated a cockfighting complex on his property.

Those actions followed a series of stings in King and Pierce counties, which saw dozens of birds seized and euthanized. At least one man was charged following those stings.

In charging papers, prosecutors contend King County deputy sheriffs arrested more than a dozen men on Aug. 15 after a dog walker spotted the group of men near a electrical transmission line off of Stuck River Drive outside of Auburn.

Deputies arrived on the scene to find several men running into the surrounding forest, according to court documents. Investigators ultimately found 36 roosters in the area, most of which were caged in cars parked near a portable arena.

King County prosecutors have charged three men alleged to have been participating in that ring. Willie Manuel Castro, 66, Godofredo J. Ramac, 74, and Antonio Montiel Flores, 37, have each been charged with animal fighting.

Castro has since pleaded guilty to the charge, according to court records.

In a separate incident on Dec. 11, police were called to the home of Lazaro Murillo-Flores following a report that, at 3 p.m. most days, cheering, Spanish chants and the sound of chickens fighting could be heard emanating from the area.

Officers arriving at the home, located in the 12700 block of Southeast Kent-Kangley Road, found 31 fighting cocks. Prosecutors allege Murillo-Flores admitted to shipping roosters to Mexico but denied fighting them in the United States.

Levi Pulkkinen can be reached at 206-448-8348 or levipulkkinen@seattlepi.com. Follow Levi on Twitter at twitter.com/levipulk.

~ by politicaesaccion on May 19, 2010.

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