Mexican National Residing in Bakersfield Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Illegal Cockfighting in Violation of the Animal Welfare Act
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Cresencio Ochoa-Tovali, 46, of Mexico, pleaded guilty today to assaulting a federal correctional officer, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, on July 27, 2014, a fight broke out between inmates in the recreational yard at the Federal Bureau of Prisons Correctional Institution in Herlong, California. Ochoa-Tovali, an inmate, was in the recreation yard at that time. A correctional officer entered the yard in an attempt to control the situation and ordered the inmates to sit or crouch on the ground. All inmates complied, including Ochoa-Tovali, who was facing a small group of inmates approximately 10 to 15 yards away. The correctional officer heard Ochoa-Tovali shouting names at the small group of inmates and approached Ochoa-Tovali. Suddenly, Ochoa-Tovali jumped up from his crouching position and struck the officer’s face.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.
Ochoa-Tovali is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez on March 24, 2015. Ochoa-Tovali faces a maximum statutory penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.