Investigation leads to dogfight raid in Benton County

By Staff and wire reports

JACKSON — Authorities say they’ve broken up a major dogfight ring in Mississippi as part of a months-long investigation that started in California and could involve participants from around the country.

David Murphy, an investigator with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in north Mississippi, says at least 200 people were at the dogfight Saturday night when state and federal officers raided a barn in rural Benton County. Marshall County authorities also assisted in the investigation.

“This was one of the largest pit bull fights that has occurred in America; we’ve determined that through our intelligence,” said Marshal County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.

Murphy says nearly 50 people were arrested and authorities are looking for others who fled, many leaving behind their vehicles. At least 70 vehicles were seized.

Murphy says shots were fired when officers arrived but nobody was hurt and authorities didn’t return fire. About 20 dogs were rescued.

Admission to the fight was $100, Murphy says.

Dickerson said between $50,000 and $100,000 in cash has been recovered and the event could have generated several hundred thousand dollars.

The organizers probably chose the site because it was a secluded spot in a rural area where they thought the activities would go unnoticed, Dickerson said.

Authorities said they believe there was another dogfight Friday night run by the same organization in Tallahatchie County, Miss., but they couldn’t find it, Dickerson said.

The people arrested face arraignment today in Benton County.

The Associated Press and Daily Journal’s Sheena Barnett contributed to this story.