Wesley Chapel, Florida -- The alleged kingpin of the largest cockfighting ring bust in New York's history was arrested in Wesley Chapel Wednesday.
Authorities say 43-year-old Moises Cruz was staying with relatives in the Meadow Pointe community to avoid the bad weather up North. U.S. Marshals learned of his location and had the Pasco County Sheriff's Office pick him up this morning. Deputies say he was very cooperative during his arrest.
The timing of Cruz's trip to Florida seems convenient due to the fact over the weekend more than 3,000 birds were rescued in a three-county cockfighting takedown that was among the largest in U.S. history.
"Operation Angry Birds" targeted locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Ulster County in order to stop the barbaric practice where roosters were fitted with razor-sharp gaffs attached in place of their spurs, and spectators would pay fees for a seat in a secret basement location and place bets as high as $10,000.
In Queens, authorities raided a bi-monthly event and arrested 70 people and rescued 65 fighting birds.
In Brooklyn at a pet shop raid, 50 birds were rescued from the basement and the pet shop owner arrested. Also seized from the pet shop were artificial spurs and syringes used to inject performance enhancing drugs into the roosters.
A 90-acre farm in Plattekill, about an hour-and-a-half north of New York City, was also raided where as a many as 3,000 birds were rescued. Prosecutors say the farm was used by cockfighting enthusiasts from neighboring states to board, feed and care for roosters that were bred and trained to fight.
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