Following a 6 month-long investigation State Police arrested a total of 42 people for illegal bird fighting in Herkimer County.

A number of search warrants were executed on Saturday, June 17th at a barn at Mr. P's Landscaping on Higby Road in Frankfort. As a result 55 game birds commonly used for bird fighting were discovered and turned over to the Herkimer County humane society.

Police then searched an adjacent barn and it was discovered that there were another 180 game birds within a suspected game bird breeding and training facility. Those birds were also immediately seized and turned over to personnel from the Herkimer County Humane Society.

In addition to arrests made for the bird fighting, police also found a large amount of illegal drugs including 3 ounces of heroin from one of the vehicles parked at the barn. Troopers also seized $68,000 in U.S. currency.

The following individuals were charged with the felony of Engaging in Animal Fighting for Amusement, section 351 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law:

  • MARCELINO BURGOS, age 65
  • JOSE L. MORLAS-ORTIZ, age 34
  • JOSE G. SANTIAGO-MARTINEZ, age 44
  • GILBERTO TAVERAS, age 32
  • MARCELINO CINTRA, age 54
  • ARNALDO R. SANTIAGO, age 35
  • EIXTON FLORES, age 61
  • JOSE GARCIA, age 44
  • CAMILLE GARCIA, age 36
  • JOSE J. TORRES, age 40
  • JOEL MATEO, age 31
  • JOSE J, MORALES, age 37
  • VICTOR FELIX DEJESUS, age 35
  • JOSUE RIVERA, age 45
  • NELSON R. COLON, age 46
  • KEVIN I. PEREZ, age 25
  • CHRISTIAN E. GARCIA, age 31
  • ESTHER GUZMAN, age 61
  • GISELLE ABREU MOREL, age 26
  • JORGE L. MATEO, age 65
  • MARIO L. MATEO, age 31
  • RADHAMES PEREZ, age 37
  • ALVIN J. COLON, age 36
  • HECTOR O. ALEJANDRO, age 65
  • ANGEL L. MARTINEZ, age 32
  • YORDANIS PLAZA LOPEZ, age 32
  • CARLOS J. GONZALEZ, age 38
  • EIDER DIAZ, age 42
  • ANGEL M. ALEJANDRO, age 45
  • JOSHUA E. CIRINO, age 25
  • LUIS A. RODRIGUEZ, age 19
  • DANIEL A. SANTIAGO, age 37
  • RAMON RIVERA, age 63
  • ANGEL L. RIVERA, age 52
  • JAIME MATEO, age 61
  • DIOMEDES R. TAVERAS, age 51
  • LUIS D. RIVERA, age 30
  • HECTOR A. MARTINEZ, age 31
  • JUSTIN J. OLIVER, age 16
  • EMMANUEL GOMEZ, age 29
  • PATRICK SAMSON, age 65

A number of these suspects are also facing other charges and violations for possession of marijuana and other drugs. The investigation is ongoing and police are asking anyone with information into any illegal game bird operations in the state to contact Investigator Scott Rachon of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit in Utica at (315) 793-2531.