March 20, 2024 3 min read


50 Arrests, $37K Seized During Alleged Illegal Cockfight Ring Raid

An alleged cockfighting operation uncovered in Atlantic City by members of Galloway’s Humane Law Enforcement Officer unit and the Egg Harbor City and Hamilton police departments led to 50 arrests

On March 9, members of Galloway’s Humane Law Enforcement Officer unit accompanied by the Egg Harbor City and Hamilton police departments uncovered an alleged cockfighting operation in Atlantic County

They were helped by Atlantic County’s SWAT Team, as well as members of the prosecutor’s office and Galloway Emergency Medical Services.

Galloway police were also assisted by Jonathan Palfy of Palfy Livestock Farm in Browns Mills.

50 Arrests and $37,000 Seized

The raid ended with around 50 arrests and $37,000 in cash seized from the property on South Bremen Avenue.

On Tuesday, Galloway Township police disclosed body camera footage that showed what was left of the alleged illegal cockfighting operation that had 50 roosters held in carriers, boxes, and bags. 

The roosters were in various health conditions and suffering from different injuries, according to police data. As described by Lt. Mark D’Esposito of Galloway Twp. Police Department, “a well-planned organized operation was occurring.”

According to police reports, numerous blades, “some metal, some plastic” were found attached to some of the birds’ legs. These tools are usually used in cockfights. D’Esposito called the image “quite disturbing to see.” The birds were removed from the property, according to information from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Four dogs, including three allegedly living in “deplorable, inhumane conditions” in a shed found outdoors, were also rescued.

Investigators at the scene also discovered what they called a complex “cockfighting operation” featuring a ring and spectator-style seating, as well as a large number of individuals who tried to flee once the police arrived.

Homeowner Madera Accused of Multiple Counts of Animal Cruelty

33-year-old Jose Madera, who is the owner of the property on South Bremen Avenue, has been accused of several counts of animal cruelty, as well as resisting arrest, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and destruction of evidence.

At the moment, he is being held in Atlantic County Jail where he is pending a court date.

The charges against him are only allegations, as he has not been convicted in the case.

Fifty residents of Vineland, Camden, and Philadelphia, were also criminally charged for allegedly participating in the cockfighting operation. The respective charges are also only allegations.

Following the raid, animal protection organization Animal Wellness Action asked for a stricter federal law against cockfighting.

The organization’s president, Wayne Pacelle, called animal fighting “cruelty to animals that is tied up with many other crimes that are dangerous and deadly to humans.”

In December 2022, the largest US cockfighting operation was dismantled in Alabama and its members were sentenced.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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