Source: Law Enforcement Division - Georgia DNR on Facebook

MIDVILLE, Ga. (CBS46) 178 people are facing charges after a cockfighting ring was busted in Emanuel County over the weekend.

According to the Southern District of Georgia, the raid happened Saturday at a property in Midville owned by 48 year-old William Shannon Scott. Scott has been charged with sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture.

The SDOG also says several other events had taken place at the property this year, which was equipped with a fighting ring, management office, concession stand and stadium bleachers. 

The raid resulted in 178 people processed for charges related to animal fighting or gambling. Nearly 800 roosters were seized, tens of thousands of dollars in gambling proceeds were confiscated as well as firearms and illegal drugs.

"Most people in our community rightly would be shocked to learn that the barbaric bloodsport of cockfighting still exists, is happening in their midst, and may involve numerous other types of criminal activity," said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia in a press release. 

Saturday's raid was dubbed "Operation Sunrise."

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The Southern District also revealed the details of a similar bust in which 38 people were charged at a cockfighting tournament in Lincoln County on December 14, 2019.

Lanier Augustus Hightower, Jr., 64, is charged along with six other defendants for sponsoring or exhibiting an animal in an animal fighting venture. Hightower Jr. is also facing charges of conducting an illegal gambling business.

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