- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - Five Loudoun County men are facing felony charges after investigators there say they uncovered a cockfighting ring.

Four of the five - Juan Romo, Hector Romo, Israel Gomez, and Antonio Bermejo (burr-MAY’-ho), all from Sterling - were arrested last week. Authorities are still looking for Jamie Bermejo Gibrann, also of Sterling.

County officials said Tuesday that they uncovered the operation back in March, while investigating a complaint of a mistreated horse on a property in Sterling.

Animal Services officials say the horse was fine, but during the investigation they saw a large number of roosters being kept in a manner consistent with cockfighting.

All five men have been charged with animal fighting, punishable by up to five years in prison.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 16.

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