Man accused of raising roosters to fight appears in court

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, July 3, 2014

JANESVILLE—A man accused of raising roosters for cockfights and of possessing more than 16 pounds of marijuana had borrowed against his 401(k) retirement account to invest in the drugs, according to a criminal complaint.

Jorge A. Marquez, 37, of 8424 W. Mill Pond Road, town of Newark, appeared in Rock County Court on Friday.

Marquez told sheriff's investigators he was raising the roosters to fight, as his family has done in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where it is legal, according to the complaint.

Marquez, an American citizen, told deputies he knows cockfighting is illegal in this country, however, according to the complaint.

Assistant District Attorney Jodi Bollendorf said Marquez had lived in the United States for 20 years, 15 of those in Rock County.

Marquez told investigators he bought 20 pounds of marijuana at $1,400 a pound and was selling it for $2,500 a pound, according to the complaint.

Deputies raided Marquez' rural residence Tuesday and found 61 roosters in cages and 21 hens with chicks, the complaint states.

Many of the roosters' combs and wattles had been removed, and their spurs had been cut, which is not normal poultry management, nor is the fact that they were individually caged and tethered, according to two veterinarians who accompanied the officers.

Investigators also found Scarlet Oil, which is used on animal wounds, and moleskin and friction tape, which are used to secure knives or gaffs to fighting roosters, according to the complaint.

Marquez is the owner of the residence, where he lives with his girlfriend, according to the complaint.

Investigators started looking into Marquez in February, when the Beloit post office told Beloit police of chickens being shipped to him.

Marquez told deputies that he breeds the birds to improve the stock and feeds them a special diet to enhance their skills and appearance, according to the complaint.

Marquez told the court Friday that he has worked at South Beloit, Illinois, company since December.

Bollendorf argued for a $45,000 cash bond, while defense attorney Walt Isaacson asked for $3,000.

Isaacson argued that an “unreasonable” bond as suggested by Bollendorf would “reduce him to an indigent person. He'd lose his job, and he'd have to rely on a court-appointed attorney.”

Court Commissioner Larry Barton ordered a $22,000 cash bond.

Barton also ordered that the sheriff's office humane officer be allowed on the Marquez property to inspect the birds and that none of the birds be disposed of.

Marquez' hearing was continued to Wednesday, July 16, to give him time to hire a lawyer.

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