Sixty-eight people were arrested in Hesperia on Saturday for their alleged connection to a cockfighting ring, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Authorities said the bust came after deputies received an anonymous tip that fights were being held in a barn on Summit Valley Road, the San Bernardino Sun reports.
When they reached the barn, deputies found a large cockfighting operation in progress. They managed to make the 68 arrests on both felony and misdemeanor charges, but many more people fled on foot, authorities said. Deputies also seized more than $20,000 and 63 roosters.
Of the arrestees, 32 have been identified as possible undocumented immigrants and placed on “INS holds,” the Sun reports. Officials say the arrestees are from around the region, including Los Angeles, Panorama City, Riverside and Palmdale.
Cockfighting is described as a blood sport between two roosters bred to fight in a pit. The birds often have razor-sharp spurs attached to their feet and fight to the death. Bets are made on the outcome.
Though in the U.S. it is illegal and considered to be a form of animal cruelty, the sport is popular in Mexico and South America as well as some Asian countries, and many cockfighting ring busts are made in border states. In Texas an alleged cockfighting kingpin was arrested just a few days ago.