ASHLAND — Local law enforcement and court officials are preparing for the arraignment of over 45 individuals today in Benton County Justice Court following the raid of a suspected dogfighting event on Sunday.
The raid took place at a location off of Hwy. 72 in Benton County. The Benton County Sheriff’s Department worked with multiple agencies on this case, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshalls, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Desoto County Sheriff’s Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Fayette County, Tenn. Sheriff’s Department, Hardeman County, Tenn. Sheriff’s Department, Ashland Police Department, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
The event is believed to be part of an organized dog fighting ring and suspects are from across the nation – some from as far as California. Over 45 individuals are currently in custody. Too many to house in Benton County Jail, there are also suspects in custody in Marshall and Tippah Counties. More suspects may be forthcoming. Approximately 80 vehicles, seized from the property, are impounded at Benton County Agri-Center in Ashland.
Some suspects may have escaped into the woods surrounding the rural location, as fire was opened on law enforcement at the scene.
The Humane Society assisted with care for the dogs found on the scene.
“This dogfighting case will send shockwaves through the dogfighting community. It’s going to show no matter where they try to have these operations, if law enforcement finds out, they’re going to take swift action,” Marshall County Sheriff Major Kelly McMillen told Fox 13.
“If you look at the animals, it’s pure torture. I don’t think anybody should tolerate that,” Chief Deputy Joe Batts told WREG.
Suspects will begin to be arraigned in Benton County Justice Court today. More information will be published as it becomes available.