3 Arrests Made as Dead Chickens, Cockfighting Cages, and Drugs Found in St. Mary Parish
43-year-old Artemio Rodriguez and 44-year-old Maria Ortiz - both of Amelia - and 61-year-old Jesus Fernandez of Morgan City have each been arrested over the last few days after a traffic stop on Fernandez allegedly turned up drugs and chickens in cages that appeared to have been used in cockfighting.
The St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, executed a search warrant at a residence in Amelia on Tuesday, finding chickens, sheep, and other animals found to be in poor condition and without proper food and water. Dead chickens were also found on the property. 166 chickens and 16 sheep/goats were seized.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff Blaise Smith says an investigation into the alleged animal cruelty began in September of 2020, resulting in the three arrests.
Fernandez was arrested on August 7th and transported to the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center for booking and was later released on a $31,750 bond on the following charges:
- Improper lane usage
- Possession of schedule II with intent to distribute (cocaine)
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Transactions involving drug proceeds