Police have broken up a cockfighting ring that bused in spectators to a property on the border of El Sereno and Montecito Heights to watch the bloodsport in a fighting ring camouflaged with shrubbery and tarps. The City Attorney’s office announced earlier this month that it planned to charge about 20 people, including property owner Miguel Escalante, with illegal cockfighting, according to a department press release. Nineteen people, many of them spectators, were arrested and 36 roosters confiscated in late January when LAPD officers and the Department’s Animal Cruelty Task Force responded to a call of illegal cock fighting in the 4100 block of Rolle Street.
The operators of the Rolle Street cockfighting ring took various steps to conceal the activity from officials and neighbors, with small groups of spectators bussed into the area by van “to avoid alerting people in the community and law enforcement of the illegal activity,” according to the LAPD, which released information about the case on its website on Tuesday.
In addition to confiscating the birds and $5,000 in cash, authorities also recovered “slashers” during its investigation of the Rolle Street cockfighting ring. The LAPD, in a press release, explains the purpose of slashers:
Slashers, also referred as gaffs, are artificial spurs that are sharpened and are used in place of the bird’s natural spurs. The purpose of the slashers is for the gamecocks to inflict as much damage as possible to each other during the cockfight.
If convicted, Escalante faces up to three years in jail, and $25,000 in fines, according to the City Attorney. The spectators could face up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines.