Police bust cockfighting ring, find dead roosters near Homestead

Police say about 200 people were in custody

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Miami-Dade police arrested dozens of people, rescued several caged birds and found some dead ones Thursday during a raid at a cockfighting ring in Southwest Miami-Dade.

While the blood sport between two roosters was happening in the cockpit, also known as the "valla," police surprised everyone at the cockfighting ring, 25425 SW 212th Ave., surrounded by  Redland farms.

"There were roosters in a ring fighting each other and obviously that culminates in the death of one or both of those animals. That's where the animal cruelty aspect comes in," Maj. Ariel Aritime said. "And there is people around the ring placing bets as this is taking place."

With Miami-Dade Department of Corrections buses, mobile processing units and temporary tents, police were prepared to execute a search warrant at the five acres of land near Coconut Palm Drive and about three miles west of Krome Avenue.

Records show Alejandro Queupumil, 28, is the property owner. He also owns property in Hialeah.

Lt. Luis Almaguer said police found many dead roosters inside.

The cruel sport may be popular in Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Colombia from November to April, but it remains illegal in Florida.

As of 6:40 p.m., Detective Roy Rutland said about 200 people were in custody. And it took dozens of police officers from a variety of units to process the scene. Aritime said it was a very big operation.

"There is also sale of narcotics that were being conducted and the sale of alcohol -- the illegal sale of alcohol without a license," Aritime said. "And there is some possession of firearm charges that we are looking at today."

The rescued birds will be examined and taken to shelters, police said.

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