3 men bound for cockfighting tournament arrested, charged with animal cruelty; 10 roosters seized, authorities say

Mario Benitez, Jeronimo Barcenas and Joseph Arbizu (Mugshots courtesy Montgomery County Constable, Pct. 4)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – Three men bound for a cockfighting tournament were arrested and charged with animal cruelty in Montgomery County over the weekend, the Montgomery Country Precinct 4 Constable’s Office said.

Joseph Arbizu, Jeronimo Barcenas, and Mario Benitez were charged with animal cruelty and booked into the Montgomery County Jail.

The men were detained Saturday during a traffic stop. At about 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 23, a K9 Unit with Montgomery County Precinct 4 observed an SUV committing multiple traffic violations while traveling down U.S. Highway 59. The deputy initiated a traffic stop. When he approached the vehicle, he heard roosters crowing inside.

The deputy learned the men were bound for a cockfighting tournament. During a consensual search of the vehicle, the deputy found 10 roosters, dozens of “steel slashers,” thousands of dollars in cash, as well as other items “used in the illegal activity of cockfighting,” the Montgomery Country Precinct 4 Constable’s Office said.

Deputies seized the roosters along with the contraband items.

Montgomery County Animal Services and the Precinct 2 Animal Cruelty Task Force assisted with the investigation and seizure of the birds.

“It’s a crime to abuse and kill animals, especially when it’s for sport,” Montgomery County Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden said. “We will do what’s necessary to lock up those suspected of animal cruelty.”

3 men bound for for cockfighting tournament arrested, charged with animal cruelty; 10 roosters seized (Montgomery County Constable, Pct. 4)

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.