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Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - Page updated at 03:54 PM

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Prosser, Sunnyside WA men face cockfighting charges

Two men from Prosser and two men from Sunnyside are among 63 people charged in a Northwest crackdown on cockfighting and drug rings.

38-year-old Rafael Ramirez-Garcia and 26-year-old Armando Bucio-Cisneros, both of Prosser, and 32-year-old Juaquin Ruiz and 39-year-old Gregorio Ochoa-Figueroa, both of Sunnyside, were identified as suspects following a two-year federal investigation.

Fifty-one people were arrested during the weekend in connection with the investigation, dubbed "Operation Tattered Wing" in Washington and "Operation Red Rooster" in Oregon.

Twelve cockfighting derbies were reportedly held from March 2006 to January 2008, including one in Sunnyside on Jan. 27, 2007, and one in Prosser on March 3, 2007.

Ramirez-Garcia and Ruiz were arrested Saturday and booked into the Yakima County Jail. Both appeared yesterday in federal court in Yakima.

Seventeen indictments charging the 63 defendants were unsealed Monday by the U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon says the indictments accuse the defendants of violating the Animal Welfare Act by sponsoring, exhibiting and transporting roosters to cockfighting venues, and interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise.

Ruiz was also charged with operating an illegal gambling business.

(Tri-City Herald)

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