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Investigation into Town of Glenwood cockfighting operation continues

TOWN OF GLENWOOD — Although the 19 individuals arrested for being spectators at a January 24 cockfight have posted bail and have been released, St. Croix County Sheriff John Shilts said that the investigation is still active.

In a January 27 news release, Sheriff Shilts stated that the investigation is active and as such information will be limited but that updates may be released as more information is gathered and individuals involved are identified.

According to the news release, the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office received information of a possible “cockfighting” event being held at a farm located at 1721 315th Street in the Town of Glenwood around 1:13 pm on Saturday, January 24.

When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the location, they found several people on site of a working dairy farm but could hear sounds of what they described as “loud chicken noises” in an area away from the main dairy barn.

As they approached that area, deputies observed several individuals gathered around a makeshift shelter. A large number of these individuals ran from the area of the shelter and into a wooded area when they observed deputies approaching.

Upon closer inspection, deputies noted a “cockfighting ring” as well as other items that indicated that a cockfight had taken place or was taking place.

Deputies from St. Croix and Polk County with assistance from Wisconsin State Patrol Troopers and officers from the Woodville and Baldwin Police Departments took 19 people into custody and booked them into the St. Croix County jail for being spectators at a cockfight which is illegal in Wisconsin.

The 19 people arrested on charges of instigation of animal fights as a spectator were:

Jose D. Quechulpa-Tequil, 28, Glenwood City.

Ramon Serrano, 55, Lakeville, Minn.

Ernesto B. Benitez, 48, Amery.

Manuel D. Galvez, West St. Paul, Minn.

Ricardo Llamas-Silva, 38, Clear Lake.

Elpidio Gorostieta-Flores, 39, New Brighton, Minn.

Agustin A. Benitez, 56, Turtle Lake.

Idelio J. Benitez, 57, Amery.

Luis M. Benitez, 25, Amery.

Michael A. Sanchez, 33, St. Paul.

Benito M. Benitez, 54, Amery.

Juan C. Sanchez-Ortiz, 29, St. Paul.

Iliberto Ayala-Vazquez, 55, St. Paul.

Martin M. Rios, 44, Bloomington, Minn.

Sabino A. Sanchez, 23, St. Paul.

Juan M. Enciso-Rojas, 31, Almena.

Dario H. Melendez, 28, St. Paul.

Ignacio Ochoa, 19, Faribault, Minn.

Ignacio Ochoa-Garcia, 53, Faribault, Minn.

Ten of the men were also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer. All 19 suspects had posted bail and had been released by Tuesday, January 27.

Dr. Marvin Johnson, a veterinarian from Roberts, is the owner of the farm which is located about six miles north of Glenwood City.

“(Dr. Johnson) has been extremely helpful from the onset of this investigation and continues to assist my office even today,” said Sheriff Shilts in the dated release.

“We have concluded that Dr. Johnson had no knowledge of the event. Dr. Johnson assisted deputies on the scene with helping to ensure the safety of the roosters on site,” stated Shilts, adding “He has definitely established that he does not condone this activity and has cooperated at every level with my office.”

Shilts also stated that Dr. Johnson had made it clear to his employees that they are expected to cooperate with the investigation to the extent that they can.

Shilts did confirm that the farm is a working dairy and that Dr. Johnson does tend to his dairy herd. Dr. Johnson was also aware that there were some chickens on the property that belonged to his employees and believed that they were being used for accepted farming practices only.