OKLAHOMA CITY – A search for an assault suspect led to a big surprise for law enforcement.
Drugs and nearly 300 birds believed to be a part of a cockfighting ring were found in an Oklahoma City home.
The 290 hens and roosters were taken in by Oklahoma City Animal Welfare. They say, normally in cases like this, they take in 40 or 50. The most they had taken in was 200 – until now.
“This is definitely a large number for us,” said OKC Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary. “Our guys were out until late hours last night.”
Out late taking in the birds – one by one.
“All the roosters have to be kept separated because they will fight if they get next to each other,” Gary said.
Police say it all started with a search for 24-year-old Isiah Edwards, who was wanted for an assault with a deadly weapon charge.
“When gang unit officers got there, they did locate the suspect and quickly took him into custody,” said Officer Megan Morgan with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
They also got a search warrant and found inside the home two pounds of meth, $70,000 cash, weapons, including a stolen gun, along with blades and other items often associated with cockfighting.
“Most of the birds were in good health,” Gary said. “They had large property with a large setup, so, most of the things the birds needed were being provided, but it most definitely is one of the largest cockfighting deals that we’ve seen.”
35-year-old Randall Richards and 35-year-old Mayra Gomez, also known as Mayra Richards, are in jail and now face charges related to cockfighting, drugs, weapons and stolen property.
What’s next for the birds, however, is not as clear. Oklahoma City Animal Welfare is already over capacity.
“We’re definitely not equipped to handle this many birds,” Gary told News 4 on Thursday. “A lot of the birds are being temporarily housed in small kennels right now. Throughout the day today we’ll be working on finding bigger, better housing.”
If animal welfare gets custody of the birds, most of the hens could be adopted out. The roosters will be sent to cockfighting rehabilitation centers, all of which are out-of-state.
Authorities also found dogs on the property. They were taken to animal welfare as well.
Edwards does not face any charges connected to cockfighting.