Coweta officials involved

34 busted for dog fighting in Meriwether

by Wes Mayer

What is described as a large dog fighting operation in Meriwether County was put to an end by multiple law enforcement agencies late Saturday — with help from Coweta authorities.

Around 10:30 p.m., authorities with the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office, Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Woodbury Police Department, Greenville Police Department, Spalding County Sheriff’s Office and animal control converged on a suspected organized dog fighting event on Happy Hollow Drive off Highway 362, according to a press release from the Meriwether County Sheriff’s Office. The Coweta Sheriff’s Office and DNR provided helicopter air support for the raid.

“Our narcotics unit has worked tirelessly on gathering intelligence on the event, and at a moment’s notice, they ‘rallied up’ and met at the training center where a briefing was conducted,” according to Meriwether County Sheriff Chuck Smith in the press release.

Smith said officers first formed a perimeter around the event, then helicopters shined spotlights on the participants and spectators — who fled and ran into the arms of waiting authorities. Suspects who attempted to hide in bushes were located using the Coweta County helicopter’s FLIR — forward looking infrared — cameras, said Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough with the sheriff’s office. A total of 34 people were taken into custody.

Authorities found a large fighting pit with an injured and bleeding female pit bull terrier inside, the Meriwether sheriff said. Animal Control Officer Beth Miller was able to take the injured dog and another into protective custody.

Authorities also seized more than $28,000 in cash, 26 vehicles of those arrested, five guns, two generators, lighting equipment, the fighting pit and a catering truck, the sheriff said. A large catering truck called Express Wings was serving fried chicken and fish to those gathered at the event, Smith said.

“According to FBI intelligence, one of the offenders is wanted by U.S. Marshals on a federal indictment accusing him of dog fighting,” according to Smith. “One of the seized guns was reported stolen to the Manchester Police Department.”

“I am saddened by what I saw at this crime scene,” the sheriff said. “However, I am very proud of all these law enforcement officers that were involved. We know in the dog fighting world, these events carry the highest potential of being extremely dangerous. All officers displayed the highest level of professionalism while showing ‘armed’ force to minimize the risk of getting hurt or hurting others.”

Those arrested at the scene were charged with gambling, cruelty to animals, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, theft by receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit or promote dog fighting, and other crimes associated with the dog fighting operation, Smith said. Offenders ranged from locals to suspects from Alabama, Arkansas and Michigan.

On Tuesday, Meriwether County Animal Control received an update from the veterinarian who was treating the injured dog — her wounds were reported to be recovering on antibiotics, she is eating again and gave the veterinarian some kisses. The other female is being held with Meriwether County Animal Control.

ARRESTED:

• Toney Bernard Wright

• Milton Williams Jr.

• Derrick Anthony Grier

• Demario A Ferguson

• Antwaun Mahone

• Kenny Junior Mahone

• Xavier Fernando Blalock

• Blake Deon Revell

• Trevor Jerrod Jones

• Michael Darnell Adaway

• Tommy K Williams

• Kentravis V Revell

• Bernard W Gilliam

• Rafeal J Chambers

• Kevin Terrell Burton

• Mario Santell Prather

• Ronald Lewis Kirkwood

• Sydney Robidas Owens

• John Fitzgerald Jackson

• Eric Lee Williams

• Andre Leroy Jamison

• Alan Bumbrey

• Travis Montfort

• Travis D Cameron

• Shaquille D Heard

• Marco Martex Finley

• Roger Lee Riley

• Randy Hall

• Demetrice C Potts

• Landy Trimaine Willis

• Latoskie Tama Williams

• Willie Edward Wright

• Maxine Hall

• William Jackson.



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