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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Cracks Down on Cockfighting, Arrests 40 in Phoenix

Over forty people were arrested over the weekend as part of a Maricopa County cockfighting investigation, reports The Associated Press.

In addition to the arrests, thousands of dollars were seized and 16 dead or injured fowl were discovered at a Phoenix home on Saturday. There was also evidence of a backyard cockfight at the scene.

While the house has been in the cross hairs of Sheriff Joe Arpaio for four years, authorities were reportedly waiting for the right moment to spring into action. That moment arose on March 10, when a tipster called the sheriff's Animal Cruelty hotline. Surveillance was conducted and subsequently, a search warrant was obtained, reports The Arizona Republic.

Of the 16 birds, several were dead and some were injured. Many were found injected with performance-enhancing chemicals.

The Phoenix cockfighting raid comes at the heels of another raid in Chandler last week, where 25 caged fowl were found, along with the razor-sharp gaffs customarily worn on the legs of the roosters during a cockfight.

Authorities in the Phoenix raid found cash and drugs at the home, as well.

Cockfighting is not new to Arizona. Last year, controversy arose involving actor Steven Seagal, who was filming a reality show following his adventures as a deputized officer of the law. During the filming of his series, he caught the arrest of an alleged cockfighter on video and this has become the subject of a civil lawsuit by the arrested man against Seagal.

The majority of the group were arrested on suspicion of being present at a cockfight. A handful of those arrested also had outstanding warrants.