More than 70 cockfighters were arrested overnight as part of Operation Angry Birds, a massive three-part raid that involved hundreds of cops and Department of Homeland Security officers.
According to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, it was the largest cockfighting takedown in history. The operation began when an informant involved with cockfighting came forward last May.
The roosters were plied with performance-enhancing drugs and fitted with razor-sharp spurs to tear each other apart in a small pen surrounded by alcohol-swilling gamblers, authorities said.
Police started in Queens on Saturday night. According to the Times, more than 70 plain-clothes officers loitered on Jamaica Avenue, watching customers pay a $40 admission fee and enter a cock fighting ring in the basement of a Queens barbershop. Police raided the basement and arrested nine of the 70 for felonies.
At the same time, another team raided a Brooklyn pet store where they believed birds were being supplied. They found more than 50 fighting birds stashed away in the basement and arrested the owner.
Sunday morning, officers raided a farm in Plattekill where authorities believe birds were trained to fight and sent to New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. They found more than 3,000 fighting birds there.
The ASPCA accompanied police to take custody of the birds.
[image via Shutterstock]