HOUSTON -

Authorities in rural North Mississippi arrested close to a dozen Houston area men in connection with one of the largest illegal dog fighting operations in U.S. history.

The bust occurred in Benton County, MS., that's about 650 miles from Houston.

In all, 52 people were taken into custody. Authorities who raided the property discovered the fighting ring, which looked like it used to a hog pen.

It was housed inside a relatively new looking metal barn. Officers reportedly arrived after one fight and were able to save a pair of injured dogs.

Marshall County Mississippi sheriff's investigators tell Local 2 those arrested went before a judge and were released on bail.

They have to be back in Benton County for another court hearing in June.
The men arrested during the raid are from Houston, Richmond, Liberty and Beaumont.

Three of the men arrested live in the same Northwest Houston neighborhood. Authorities reportedly confiscated close to $100,000 in cash from vehicles seized during the raid.