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Press Release

Maryland Man Sentenced for “DMV Board” Dogfighting Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Capitol Heights, Maryland, man was sentenced today to 2 years in prison for conspiring to engage in dogfighting.

According to court documents, from May 2015 through at least August 2020, Charles Edward Williams, III, 50, and other conspirators from Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, used a messaging app private group, which they generally referred to as “The DMV Board” or “The Board,” as a place where they and their associates could discuss training fighting dogs, exchange videos about dogfighting, and arrange and coordinate dog fights, away from the view of law enforcement authorities. Members of The DMV Board also used the messaging app to compare methods of killing dogs that lost fights, as well as to circulate media reports about conspirators who had been caught by law enforcement and discuss methods to minimize the likelihood that they would be caught themselves.

Williams entered multiple dogs into fights. For example, in March 2018, Williams entered a dog into a fight at a warehouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Law enforcement officers broke up the fight and apprehended several weapons and two injured dogs from the warehouse. They also arrested those who were present, including Williams.

In April 2019, Williams and coconspirator Michael Roy Hilliard, 37, of Fort Washington, Maryland, drove to Bunnlevel, North Carolina, with a dog belonging to Williams, so that he could enter the dog in a dog fight. The fight lasted less than 10 minutes before being won by the dog belonging to Williams. An unindicted conspirator shot and killed the dog that lost the fight.

In August 2022, Williams, Hilliard, and five others were indicted for a dogfighting conspiracy involving the “DMV Board.” In November 2022, Williams, Hilliard, and their co-defendants Derek Garcia and Ricardo Thorne pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.

Hilliard, Garcia, and Thorne are scheduled to be sentenced in March 2023. They each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cristina Stam and Gordon Kromberg 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. 1:22-cr-154.

Updated February 21, 2023