- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

McDOWELL, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Kentucky father and son pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in an enterprise that authorities believe was one of the largest cockfighting pits in the country.

A U.S. Agriculture Department investigator said the business at McDowell in Floyd County had arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant.

Walter Dale Stumbo, 51, and Joshua Dale Stumbo, 25, of Floyd County, admitted conspiring to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture and conducting an illegal gambling business, the Lexington Herald-Leader (https://bit.ly/1x8OL5Y ) reported. They also pleaded guilty to involvement in possessing and transporting roosters across the state line from Virginia to the Big Blue club and transporting gaffs, or sharp knives that are attached to roosters’ legs, across state lines.

They are to be sentenced in October.

The investigator, Stan Wojtkonski, said in an affidavit that one participant said the club had memberships on file for more than 6,000 people. He said police saw vehicles from states throughout the Southeast and as far away as Michigan, Illinois and Maryland during the investigation.

Walter Stumbo’s wife, Sonya Stumbo, has pleaded not guilty, and charges against her remain.

Another man charged in the case, Jonathan Robinson of Wise County, Va., pleaded guilty Thursday to charges including conspiracy, transporting gaffs and possessing an animal for use in an illegal fighting venture.

Robinson’s father, 57-year-old Wesley Dean Robinson, who allegedly sold gaffs at the Big Blue club, pleaded guilty in the case last month.

Charges against the five were filed in federal court in Virginia.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com


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