- Legal States
Jerome García December 9, 2022 3 min read
Largest US Cockfighting Operation Dismantled, Members Sentenced
Seven members of an Alabama family were sentenced for their participation in a massive cockfighting operation. Besides participating in a large-scale cock fighting operation, the family members had established fighting-bird breeding businesses and operated an illegal gambling business. Due to the unusual cruelty of the nature of the business operation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced prison sentences, probation and supervised release for seven members of the family.
Massive Cockfighting and Fighting-Bird Breeding Operation Busted
Court documents reveal that the cockfighting operation was active at least from January 2018 until June 2021. The cruel tournaments were held at specifically established cockfighting pits that featured seats for up to 150 visitors. What’s more, buildings adjacent to the cockfighting pits offered even a merchandise stand, the DOJ reveals.
Two or more roosters participated in each of the fights. The roosters had different sharp blades attached to their legs such as spurs, short knives or long knives. According to the DOJ, the purpose of the cockfights was “sport, wagering and entertainment.” To participate in the events, visitors paid high fees such as $1,500 to participate in fights with seven roosters.
Besides organizing cockfights, the infamous family that ran the businesses, the Easterlings, also had two bird breeding businesses that were used for fighting-bird breeding. The two businesses also known as L&L Gamefarm and Swift Creek Gamefarm were located near the cockfighting pits. Details released by the DOJ revealed that at the two businesses “thousands of birds were bred and sold to be used in fights between two or more birds for the purposes of sport, wagering or entertainment.”
Easterling Family Members Sentenced
Overall, seven members of the infamous Easterling family were convicted for their participation in what is believed to be the largest cockfighting business in the US. DOJ’s recent announcement reveals that four family members pleaded guilty to multiple felonies on August 5 and were consequently sentenced.
As a result, George William “Billy” Easterling, 56, was sentenced to 22 months in prison on December 6, as well as one year of supervised release for his participation in the cockfighting operation. Three other members of the Easterling family were sentenced on November 30. William “Tyler” Easterling, 30, was sentenced to 20 months in prison, as well as one year of supervised release while Brent Colon Easterling, 38, received a 24-month prison sentence and one year of supervised release.
The 77-year-old, William Colon “Jim” Easterling received a sentence of two years of home detention; the court considered his declining health and selected home detention but also imposed a fine of $8,000 against him over the participation in the illegal operation.
Additionally, the DOJ revealed that three other members of the family pleaded guilty on June 3 and were sentenced early in October. Kassi Brook Easterling, received a sentence of two years of probation as well as six months of home detention, while Amber Nicole Easterling, was sentenced to one year of probation for their involvement in the cockfighting pits. Last but not least, Thomas Glyn “Junior” Williams, was sentenced by the DOJ to one year of probation.