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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2022

Defendant Sentenced for Dog-Fighting Conspiracy and Illegal Possession of a Firearms

RICHMOND, Va. – A Henrico resident was sentenced today to 37 months in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to federal charges resulting from a lengthy investigation into a significant multi-state dog fighting conspiracy.

According to court documents, Raymond L. Johnson, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Beginning in November 2019, law enforcement investigated a criminal organization involved in dog fighting based out of Richmond, and extending into Baltimore, Maryland. In late 2020, law enforcement agents executed three residential search warrants in Virginia and one residential search warrant in Maryland, and seized numerous dogs that were being used for organized dogfighting, together with dog-fighting paraphernalia, firearms and ammunition.

During the investigation, Johnson communicated with his co-conspirators about breeding and fighting dogs, past dog fights, coordination of upcoming dog fights, and other topics detailing the business and the brutality of dogfighting. Johnson hosted two dog fights at his residence, videos of which were recovered by law enforcement. Agents executed a search warrant at Johnson’s Henrico residence on November 19, 2020, and recovered 9 pit bull terrier-type dogs with scarring consistent with dog-fighting. Agents also seized other evidence of dog fighting activities at Johnson’s residence, including dog collars, medications, supplies and supplements, and a treadmill used to train dogs for fighting.

Agents also recovered firearms and ammunition from Johnson’s residence, including an AK47 style rifle. As a convicted felon, it was illegal for Johnson to possess those firearms and ammunition.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Todd Kim, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office; made the announcement after sentencing by Senior United States District Judge Robert E. Payne.

Special assistance was provided by the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force and the United States Marshals Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen E. Anthony and Trial Attorneys Banu Rangarajan and William Shapiro with the Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section, are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:21-cr -108

Topic(s): 
Environment
Firearms Offenses
Contact: 
USAVAE.Press@usdoj.gov
Updated March 31, 2022