- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014
5 charged in cockfighting case in eastern Kentucky

McDOWELL, Ky. (AP) - Three Kentuckians and two Virginia residents have been charged in federal court with conducting cockfights that drew people from eight states to a pit in eastern Kentucky.

The five were charged with conspiring to operate an illegal gambling enterprise and illegally conduct cockfights at the Big Blue Sportsmen’s Club in McDowell, Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy of the Western District of Virginia said in a news release Monday.

Charged are 51-year-old Walter Dale Stumbo, 51-year-old Sonya Stumbo and 25-year-old Joshua Stumbo of Floyd County, Kentucky; and 57-year-old Wesley Dean Robinson and 33-year-old Jonathan Robinson of Wise County, Virginia. They were arrested Saturday morning and appeared in court Monday, according to prosecutors.

No attorneys were listed in online records for the Stumbos. Attorneys listed for the Robinsons did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Monday night.

“It is alleged that on fight weekends at Big Blue, spectators and handlers traveled from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Georgia,” the release said. “The complaint further alleges that entrance fees at Big Blue were $250 per entry with approximately 100 total entries per derby.”

All five were released on bond Monday. The Stumbos, who appeared Monday in federal court in Pikeville, were directed to appear Tuesday in Abingdon, Virginia, Heaphy’s release said.

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State auctions Richie Farmer’s guns, knives

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - State officials were surprised Monday to find more than 400 people showed up to bid on 29 knives and guns that led to the imprisonment of former Kentucky agriculture commissioner and basketball star Richie Farmer whose jersey hangs in Rupp Arena.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources made more than $21,000 for charity by auctioning off 16 knives and 13 rifles that once belonged to Farmer. The former Republican agriculture commissioner and University of Kentucky shooting guard pleaded guilty to government corruption charges last year and is serving a 27-month sentence in federal prison.

The Case knives were Kentucky blue and had Farmer’s name engraved on the blade. The Remington rifles had the words “Kentucky Proud” engraved beneath the scope. The guns included Farmer’s personal rifle, whose serial number ended in 32 - Farmer’s number when he played for Rick Pinto as a member of the Kentucky basketball team nicknamed “The Unforgettables” for their gutsy play that restored the Kentucky basketball program to prominence.

As agriculture commissioner, Farmer used state money to purchase the guns and knives while attending the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference in 2008. The items were supposed to be gifts for staff members, but Farmer ended up keeping many for himself. The guns and knives ended up being part of the federal corruption investigation.

The knives, which cost about $80 each, sold for between $400 and $500 at auction. The rifles, which cost about $500 each, sold for between $1,000 and $1,300. Farmer’s personal rifle sold for $1,400.

“I’m going to put them in the safe. Make it a family heirloom, I guess,” said 40-year-old Matt Grosser, a furniture store owner from Russell Springs who bought two rifles while wearing a University of Kentucky hat.

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