Those of us who love dogs can’t imagine why anyone would have anything to do with fighting dogs. In the case of many dog fighters, both large and small, the dog fighting is only one part of a larger criminal enterprise. A recent press release from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) explains how dog-fighting fit into a major drug trafficking operation run out of Louisiana.
On August 5th Pedro Mendez Ramos received a sentence of 12.5 years in Federal prison (plus 5 more years of supervised release) on drug trafficking charges. Apparently, Ramos was the leader of an extremely lucrative criminal enterprise that distributed narcotics from Texas to Church Point, Louisiana, and then on to Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia, with proceeds going back to Texas and ultimately Mexico.
From the DEA press release: “Ramos, an avid pit bull and cock fighter, with over three hundred gamecocks and sixty fighting pit bulls of his own, utilized these illegal events as a networking tool in order to recruit members to transport and sell cocaine and marijuana for his organization. The organization utilized various methods to conceal their cocaine, to include tractor trailers and trucks with hidden compartments and gamecock cages with false bottoms.”
“Special Agent in Charge Jimmy S. Fox III of the New Orleans Field Division stated, ‘The coordinated efforts of this investigation not only exposed and dismantled a sophisticated drug trafficking organization, it also helped to cease the brutality and unspeakable cruelty of animals at the hands of inhumane individuals.’”
I appreciate that Special Agent Fox took the opportunity to highlight the animal cruelty aspect of the case, especially since it appears that any animal-related charges were swallowed up by the more serious narcotics charges. Informing the public about the way dog fighting fits into larger criminal enterprises may lead to more tips from the public.
Given that Ramos’ organization was so vast and had at one time “amassed so much cash” that it looked into purchasing the Canal Oil Refinery to launder its money, I’m kind of surprised that Ramos only got12.5 years. I’d have been happier with 24.
Read the DEA Press Release here: http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/states/newsrel/2010/neworleans080910.html