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By Josh Poltilove
The Tampa Tribune
POLK CITY - Soon after a cockfight ended Sunday afternoon, deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Agricultural Crimes Unit surrounded the scene and arrested 17 men.
Most of them tried to flee the rural pastureland where the cockfighting occurred, a statement said. They were apprehended without incident.
Their charges include attending and/or possessing equipment for fighting and baiting animals, and resisting an officer without violence.
Deputies found seven live roosters with fresh wounds and 28 freshly killed roosters in a hole in the ground, according to the statement. Cages, cutting knives and spurs also were found on the property, along with an older grave with more rooster corpses.
About $25,000 was seized, along with nine vehicles.
“A couple of these people had $3,000 or $4,000 each on them, which they were making on the betting,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said.
It is unclear who owns the property, she said. The investigation is ongoing.
Those arrested from Hillsborough and Polk counties include: Santos Herrera-Cruz, 43, of Tampa; Melecio Mendoza-Medina, 38, of Plant City; Amando Vivas, 51, of Plant City; Jose Alfredo, 30, of Plant City; Jose I. Medina, 32, of Plant City; Arturo Munoz, 70, of Lakeland; Isael Flores-Flores, 36, of Lakeland; Jaime Benitez-Navarro, 41, of Fort Meade; Eduardo Rodriguez, 35, of Fort Meade; Brian Edward Mitchell, 20, of Lake Wales; and Ronald Lee Rose, 29, of Lake Wales.