COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A recently unsealed federal investigation into a dog fighting ring has led to 11 individuals charged for drug possession and violating the dog fighting prohibitions in the federal Animal Welfare Act, among other charges. Several individuals charged live in the Chattahoochee Valley.
According to a copy of the indictment released by the U.S. Department of Justice, the 11 individuals are facing a collective 136 charges, including “violations of drug conspiracy, drug possession, and drug possession with the intent to distribute, and violations of the dog fighting prohibitions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and conspiracy to commit the same.”
The defendants named in the case are:
- Jarvis Lockett, 40 of Warner Robins, Ga.
- Derrick Owens, 37 of Woodland, Ga.
- Christopher Raines, 50 of Talbotton, Ga.
- Armard Davis, 41 of Fort Valley, Ga.
- Jason Carter, 38 of Phenix City, Ala.
- Shaquille Bentley, 26 of Roberta, Ga.
- Bryanna Holmes, 24 of Fort Valley, Ga.
- Vernon Vegas, 49 of Suwanee, Ga.
- Lekey Davis, 45 of Talbotton, Ga.
- Kathy Ann Whitfield, 61 of Columbus, Ga.
- Rodrick Walton, 40 of Shiloh, Ga.
The DOJ says the indictment alleges that the defendants Lockett, Owens, Raines, A. Davis, Carter, Bentley, Holmes, Vegas, L. Davis, and Whitfield were involved in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 28 grams or more of cocaine base over a span of 10 months from May 2019 to February 2020.
Lockett is also charged in separate counts with distribution of cocaine base and cocaine, and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine.
A. Davis and Holmes are charged in separate counts with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine, while Walton is charged in a separate count with possession of cocaine, according to the DOJ.
“As this case demonstrates, we continue to aggressively prosecute dog fighters and those who work together to support and further their inhumane criminal activities,” said Jean Williams, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We thank our federal and local law enforcement partners who made this operation possible.”
The indictment also alleges that Lockett, Owens, Raines, A. Davis, and Walton were involved in a conspiracy to fight, and possess, train, transport, deliver, and receive dogs for the purpose of having the dogs participate in a dog fight.
“Dog fighting is brutal and illegal; it is particularly troubling when combined with drug trafficking,” said Peter D. Leary, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “We will investigate and prosecute individuals who engage in these criminal acts and seek justice for all of their victims. I thank our law enforcement partners for their hard work on this significant investigation.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General are still investigating the case, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service, Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and other local law enforcement agencies.
Read the full indictment below: