Ten men were arrested Tuesday and Wednesday and charged with dog fighting and selling drugs in the Onslow County area.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced Wednesday that a grand jury had indicted the men. The indictment accuses them of placing bets on dog fights, sometimes as much as $100,000 on a single fight.
Seven of the men were charged with conspiracy to violate the animal welfare act, according to the indictment. They are: Lewis Edmond Andrews Jr., 41, and James David Martin, 38, of Maple Hill; Ronnie Jeremy Thompson, 39, Aaron Richardson, aka “Jit,” 41, and Mark Anthony West, 53, of Jacksonville; Leo Chadwick, 63, of Hubert; and Cedric Gerard Cook, 38, of Fayetteville.
Andrews and two men from Maple Hill – William Jay Farrior, aka “Bo,” 36, and Randall Jacob James, aka “Slim,” 32, – were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack and heroin. West also was charged with distributing crack within 1,000 feet of Jacksonville Senior High School.
The tenth man, James Leslie Golden III, 46, of Ayden, was charged with a misdemeanor alleging he attended two dog fights.
The federal Animal Welfare Act makes it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison to fight dogs or to possess, train, sell, buy, deliver, receive or transport dogs intended for use in dog fighting.
When the men were arrested, law enforcement officers searched four properties where they suspected there were dogs and drug paraphernalia.
During the searches, 156 dogs were seized, and officials asked the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to care for them at a temporary shelter. The ASPCA also was assisting with evidence collection and forensic examinations of the dogs, according to the indictment.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jacksonville Police Department and Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Wilmington Police Department, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Howard will prosecute the case.