Suspect sought in alleged drug, cockfighting ring

By Errol Castens
Daily Journal

MYRTLE – Union County authorities are still searching for a suspect who attacked a sheriff’s deputy and fled the scene of an alleged drug and animal abuse bust last week.

Sheriff’s officers were called to a house on County Road 67 on Friday night to respond to a disturbance with a report of shots fired. Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said Mario Gonzales, who lived at the house, was arrested on drug charges, to which were added misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

“Individuals there told (the officers) there might be another weapon and some drugs behind the house,” he said. The officers came upon what appeared to be a cockfighting ring. From there sprang a suspect believed to be Oscar Rodriguez, who

Edwards said hit and kicked one of the officers before fleeing the scene on foot.

“They found a rooster-fighting arena, muscle enhancer – medicine that I guess they give the roosters to build them up,” Edwards said. “They found scales to weigh the roosters on, all kinds of cock-fighting paraphernalia.”

After obtaining a search warrant, officers also found what was believed to be marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth, Edwards said, and when they searched again in daylight, they found a firearm and about a pound of marijuana.

A second warrant allowed them and officials from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society to move the chickens, which showed signs of both abuse and neglect, Edwards said.

“We’re still looking for (Rodriguez) on drug charges and assault on a law enforcement officer,” he added.