An alleged cockfighting ring has been halted and a man in Buckingham is facing charges following an investigation into whether he was involved in housing wild or domestic animals for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting, a third degree felony.
Roberto Torres, 50, of 5171 Neal Road in Buckingham, just outside Lehigh Acres, was attempting to sell his three-bedroom home and property and a potential buyer was visiting the property that was listed for sale.
According to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, an anonymous complaint about caged roosters at the site was called in to the Sheriff's Office.
A deputy with the Sheriff's Office's Agriculture Unit was sent on Oct. 9 to the site in Buckingham to investigate the tip to see if domestic fowl were being used for cockfighting.
Officers with the Lee County Animal Services were also assigned to investigate the tip and as a result, a search warrant was served at the Neal Road site to Torres.
According to a Lee County Sheriff's report, more than 100 roosters, hens and chickens were located on the property and it was concluded that the livestock was being bred and used in illegal cockfighting.
The report stated that there was an area on the property which was used for the fights and they found a makeshift bar with beer bottles lining the shelves and tables and cages for the roosters were nearby for prepping the chickens before putting them in the ring.
Torres has been charged with baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting, which is a third degree felony. Officials said he also has been charged with owning, leasing, managing, operating, or having control of any property kept or used for such activity, which also is a third degree felony.
The chickens have been inspected by a veterinarian and Sheriff's officials said in a report that they will be temporarily kept at the Sheriff's Office Detention Compound's agricultural impound area.
A spokesman with the Sheriff's public information unit said the chickens will have to be euthanized once a judge's order is received.
Torres was released on a $1500 bond on Oct. 9. His trial date has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 in Lee County Court.
Officials said the investigation continues into the alleged cockfighting operation.