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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ten Area Men Charged with Federal Dog-Fighting Offenses

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Federal and local law enforcement officers made arrests this morning of area men charged by indictment with conspiracy to sponsor and participate in a dog-fighting venture and related charges. The indictment, returned by the grand jury last week, had remained sealed pending the arrests and initial court appearances. The defendants are making their initial appearances in federal court in Rock Island.

 

Those charged in the conspiracy include the following: Demarlo A. McCoy, 29; Ryan M. Hickman, 42; Andre Keywan Lidell, 40; Algerron Lee Goldsmith, 46; Stantrel Vontrez Knight, 29; Simmeon Terrell Hall, 28; Sherrick Cornelius Houston, 43; Willie Earl Jackson, 34, all of Rock Island, Ill.; and, Terrell Onterial McDuffy, 43, of Davenport, Iowa. In addition, the indictment charges Jaquan Leontae Jones, 27, also of Rock Island, with a single misdemeanor count of knowingly attending a dog fight.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen, FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean M. Cox, Springfield Field Office, and Rock Island Police Chief Jeffrey R. VenHuizen announced the charges today. The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Rock Island Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Allegro and Ryan Finlen are prosecuting the case.

 

The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring from 2011 through April 14, 2016, to sponsor pit bull-type dogs in fights as well as buying, selling, training, and possessing dogs to participate in such fights. According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly scheduled and conducted dog fights for sport and entertainment and wagered money on fight results.

 

The defendants allegedly discussed and disseminated information, including video recordings of dog fights, to establish the fighting reputations of specific dogs, to maximize the dogs’ values for breeding fighting dogs, and to maximize the defendants’ reputations as fighting-dog trainers and breeders.

 

In a separate, but related matter, the government filed a civil complaint in April 2016, seeking forfeiture of approximately 64 dogs that were seized in the execution of search warrants on April 14, 2016. According to the civil complaint, the dogs were involved in and used to commit or facilitate the alleged dog-fighting venture.

 

To date, pursuant to a court order, 27 of the previously seized dogs have been forfeited to the government. On Jan. 26, 2017, the court granted the government’s motion for default pertaining to 24 additional dogs. Two dogs have been euthanized pursuant to a court order; five were voluntarily surrendered; and three dogs have died. There are three dogs whose claims remain unresolved, including two for which a motion to strike is currently pending.

 

Law enforcement agencies that coordinated and participated in making today’s arrests include: the Rock Island Police Department; FBI; Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office; DEA; Scott County, Iowa Sheriff’s Office; the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Team (QCMEG); and the U.S. Marshals Service.

 

Representatives of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) were available today to assist in the event any additional dogs were seized in the execution of the arrest warrants. ASPCA continues to assist in the care of the dogs seized by law enforcement in April 2016, during the execution of search warrants.

 

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

 

If convicted, the maximum statutory penalty for each offense charged is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as sentencing is determined by the court based on

the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The maximum statutory penalty is up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each count charged of conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture; sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV; possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV; and transporting an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV. For the misdemeanor charge of knowingly attending an AFV, the penalty is up to one year in prison. The table below lists the defendants and specific counts charged in the indictment.

 

Defendant

Charge

Demarlo A. McCoy, 29

400 block 7th St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV (4 counts)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Ryan M. Hickman, 42

500 block 14th Ave.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Andre Keywan Lidell, 40

800 block 15th Ave.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV (2 counts)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Algerron Lee Goldsmith, 46

1200 block 14th St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Defendant

Charge

 

Stantrel Vontrez Knight, 29

500 block 6th St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV (1 count)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Terrell Onterial McDuffy, 43

1800 block 8th Ave.

Davenport, Iowa

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

 

Simmeon Terrell Hall, 28

800 block 21st St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV (3 counts)

Transporting an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Sherrick Cornelius Houston, 43

1600 block 5th St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Possessing an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an AFV (1 count)

Willie Earl Jackson, 34

1500 block 9th St.

Rock Island, Ill.

Conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture (1 count)

Sponsoring/exhibiting an animal in an AFV (1 count)

 

Jaquan Leontae Jones, 27

1000 block 10th Ave.

Rock Island, Ill.

Knowingly attending an animal fighting venture (1 count)

 

Updated January 31, 2017