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In less than a week Detectives and Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office have discovered illegal cockfighting organizations. One in a city, and the other in a remote location.

*** PRESS RELEASE May 20, 2021 ***

Over a period of six days - May 10 through May 15 - Detectives and Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office discovered two separate cockfighting operations.  One was located in Orem city, on Geneva Road, while the other one was near a location called Yellowbrush Well, along 18150 West, Near Allen's Ranch Road in Cedar Valley.

In the Orem case, Detectives obtained a search warrant for a home on Geneva Road.  During the process of serving that search warrant they found dozens of cages and roosters used for illegal cockfighting operations.  They also found dozens of baby chickens believed to be part of this ongoing cockfighting organization.  Part of this cockfighting operation included razor sharp spurs that are attached to the legs of the roosters with the intent of the spurs causing serious injury or death to other roosters.  Possession of this kind of spurs for this purpose is a felony.  Detectives found only one person at the home they believed to be responsible for the cockfighting operation.  This man, Jose Arturo Meza-Basan, 32, of Orem, also had a false identification card and a false US Social Security card with his name on them.  Meza-Basan was arrested and booked into jail on third degree felony charges of possession of forged documents and aggravated cruelty to animals.  He has since posted $5,000.00 bond and been released from jail.  The roosters and baby chickens were impounded.

In the other case, Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff's Office received a 3rd party report that there was a large group of people gathered at a building near 3100 South 18150 West, by a location called Yellowbrush Well, and near Allen's Ranch Road in Cedar Valley.  When Deputies arrived they saw a large number of cars inside a closed fence.  Inside that area was an unfinished building made largely of plywood.  They could hear the sound of roosters crowing and people yelling and cheering.  A man cam out to talk to him and at the same time the Deputy saw multiple people run from the opposite side of the building.  The Deputy applied for and was granted a search warrant for the property.  When they entered the building they found two "rings" on the ground made with walls about two feet high.  Outside the building they saw a disturbed area in the dirt and noticed what appeared to be a chicken foot protruding from the ground.  They picked it up and it was a dead rooster. Digging up the pit they found a total of 24 dead roosters.  They found 15 live chickens.  The live chickens were impounded.  In this case 4 men received misdemeanor citations for cruelty to animals.  31 men received misdemeanor citations for attendance at animal fights.  All 35 men were released after being issued citations.  The Deputy investigating this case said the building where the illegal cockfighting operation was taking place was built specifically for the purpose of cockfighting.

While investigators do not know for sure, they have no evidence at this time that these two cockfighting operations are connected to one another.  At the Utah County Sheriff's Office we don't come across these kinds of operations very often.  So it is unusual to come across to such operations in a period of just six days.

For questions contact Sergeant Spencer Cannon, Public Information Officer, Utah County Sheriff's Office.

(801)404-1912 - Cell

Twitter:  @SGTCannonPIO or @UCSO

Email:  jamesc@utahcounty.gov