Investigator Reports Grand Bay Cockfighting Ring Equipped with Stadium Seats and Concession Stands

Investigator Reports Grand Bay Cockfighting Ring Equipped with Stadium Seats and Concession Stands

MOBILE, Ala.(369News) – Mobile County sheriff’s deputies were initially led to a private road in Grand Bay, off Stable Road, in the summertime by an anonymous tip.

According to Cpl. Lonnie Parsons Jr., the property’s owner, Darrel Zemon Jackson, was concealed behind a fence.

“He met them at the gate and asked, essentially, ‘Are you here for the cockfighting?'” according to Parsons, a Sheriff’s Office investigator who related the story of how the egregious and blatant enterprise was thwarted by law officials.

According to Parsons, the policemen were not acting undercover but rather were deputies in uniform. He added that, upon being led to the property’s rear, they discovered eighty or more individuals, some of whom fled the scene. He stated that about fifty individuals were apprehended by deputies.

The 64-year-old Jackson paid a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals last week. Each event conducted on the defendant’s property reportedly brought in $200, according to Parsons.

When asked who was responsible for hosting the gatherings, defense attorney Jeff Deen said his client.

“Gambling and receiving that take from gambling had nothing to do with him,” he stated.

Parsons said that 63 roosters were rescued by deputies and then transferred to animal control, who have since attempted to find new homes for the birds.

According to him, that spared them from a life of cruelty.

“The hens would be measured,” he explained. Each chicken would be assigned a weight class and compete against others in the same class. They were willing to battle these birds to the finish. It’s your sole option for selecting a victor.

Three enormous pens are part of the design, according to Parsons. It was, in some respects, like being at a football game, he said.

He explained that the building included food stalls and a huge scoreboard. “Seats arranged in a stadium layout were there.”

People teach their own roosters to fight, according to Parsons. Roosters such as Cherry Vally, Steel Slinger, and Killer B’s were kept track of by the leaderboard.

According to Parsons, spectators could have chicken fingers, hot cocoa, and hot dogs as they watched the birds and placed their bets. According to Parsons, the seats were claimed to have originated from the Hollywood Stadium 18 theater, which was demolished to build Topgolf in McGowin Park, but he had no evidence to support this claim.

The discovery of a massive cockfighting organization in Mobile County is not unprecedented. In 2019, authorities conducted a raid at one in Citronelle. An undercover report by WSFA in Montgomery brought the problem to light in 2012.

Parsons has stated his belief that the Grand Bay organization is a transnational network operating out of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

That they had vehicles from Louisiana and Mississippi was something he was able to ascertain. We could have gotten some from Georgia, I think. We had vehicles traveling from Florida. It was a highly complex operation involving many states.

A number of defendants had their cockfighting accusations dismissed last week by prosecutors due to a lack of evidence. Other individuals entered guilty pleas on charges of misdemeanor gambling. At least nine more entered guilty pleas in August. The judge imposed a $50 penalty:

  • Son Ngol Tran, 72, of Biloxi.
  • Huu Ba Tran, 54, of Grand Bay.
  • Long V. Gip, 40, of Marrero, Louisiana.
  • Truong Thien Dinh, 43, of Irvington.
  • Bruce A. Grimsley, 42, of Gulfport.
  • Chinh H. Tran, 48, of D’Iberville.
  • Van Duong, 73, of Bayou La Batre.
  • Charles Eley Furby III, 36, of Moss Point.
  • Thi D. Le, 36, of New Orleans.

The law sets a maximum penalty of $50. The participants’ audacity was partly due to that, according to Parsons. There are worse prohibitions in neighboring states, he added, than Alabama’s cockfighting act, which is from the 1800s and specifies fines of $20 to $50.

He stated that, “Essentially,” there is no crime. “They came here for the leniency; they won’t have to worry about a thing when they return home.”

According to Parsons, cockfighting is considered a federal offense. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile would handle the matter.

According to Parsons, state prosecutors were successful in bringing gambling charges by claiming the roosters were gambling tools. As an example, Tom Ngo, a 63-year-old resident of Gulfport, admitted guilt to basic gaming last week. A judge fined him $500.

According to Parsons, the cockfighting accusation is much lower in severity, while the sentence for the misdemeanor is minimal. Akin to a traffic offense, he continued, it is a ticket violation.

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