GOLD BAR — Police on Sunday arrested 17 people at a home east of Gold Bar who are suspected of involvement in a cockfighting operation.
About 50 roosters found in cages and cardboard boxes on the property were confiscated, said Debbie Willis, spokeswoman for the Monroe Police Department.
The Sky Valley Enforcement Team, a special investigative unit made up of officers from Monroe and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, made the arrests about 12:30 p.m. with help from the south Snohomish County SWAT team and Lynnwood police, Willis said.
Acting on a tip, the enforcement team spent more than two months investigating the operation, she said. The arrests were timed with an apparent cockfighting event planned for Sunday afternoon on the property at 44710 Pine Road.
In addition to those arrested, four people fled when police arrived and are being sought, Willis said.
All those arrested were men, some who live nearby and others who came from as far as Sedro-Woolley and Lynnwood.
“It is a felony to participate and or be a spectator at these types of events,” Willis said.
Money and a small amount of drugs also were found at the home, she said.
Willis could not confirm whether the man who lives in the house was among those arrested.
Roosters apparently had been prepared for a fight when the arrests were made on Sunday, with metal talons attached to their feet, she said. Staff from King County Animal Control, another animal shelter from Seattle and representatives from the Humane Society arrived to handle the removal of the birds from the property.
The detached garage had a makeshift arena set up with plywood, Willis said. She was uncertain how long the operation had been going on.
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