23 birds confiscated in alleged cockfighting ring

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - September 8, 2010

Investigators say it was an elaborate, expensive cockfighting operation.

Officers carried out box after box filled with roosters they say were groomed and ready for cockfighting. The basement was outfitted with coops, a ring, and even bulletproof glass.

23 roosters in total have been confiscated by SPCA officials at the private home on North 7th Street.

"When you came to these fights, paid your admission into these fights, they made sure you weren't law enforcement or wasn't someone that wasn't known to them," SPCA law enforcement director George Bengal said.

The bust culminates a six month investigation. Investigators say one man who lives at the home and is under arrest.

Police are still looking for a roommate also believed to be part of the operation.

Neighbors were tight lipped. None would talk on camera, except for Bernie Colon.

He's lived in the North Philadelphia neighborhood for over 40 years. He wouldn't confirm the cockfighting ring, but defended what he termed a sport and part of the large Puerto Rican community here.

"Every culture has brought something back from their island," Colon said.

He said he can't believe the alleged cockfighting took place in the neighbor's home.

The one man in custody and the other being sought in connection of this case face felony charges.

Their names have not been released pending formal charges.

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