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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 6, 2018

Maryland Man Sentenced for Dogfighting Conspiracy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Maryland man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to engage in dogfighting, as well as a separate role as a ringleader in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme.

According to court documents, Rodriguez Rodney Lomax Norman, 31, was fully immersed in the world of dog fighting in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. Norman and his associates bred, trained, and exhibited dogs in organized fights where animals suffered severe bites, gashes, and other injuries, and were expected to fight nonetheless. When law enforcement searched Norman’s Maryland and D.C. properties in August 2017, they found over a dozen dogs, an animal treadmill, heavy dog chains, shock collars, lunge whips, performance-enhancing animal pharmaceuticals, and medical supplies like syringes and skin staplers.

“Dog fighting is a crime marked by brutality and cruelty,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick. “Those who choose to brutalize animals for entertainment, sport, and profit must know that their criminal conduct will be severely punished. This complex investigation was a success due to the expertise and skill of our investigative partners. I want to thank them for their outstanding work on this important case.”

In court documents, Norman admitted that also found on his Maryland property was a fighting ring that bore traces of animal blood, and a noose-like contraption that was apparently put on a dog’s neck and used to hang him to build muscle. Norman continued to fight his dogs for years after law enforcement officials first contacted him about dog fighting, even though he knew that doing so was illegal.

“Dog fighting is a barbaric spectacle that has no place in any civilized society,” said Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office. “Today’s sentencing highlights our continuing efforts to investigate and prosecute organized crime, and those who seek to profit from the abuse and suffering of helpless animals.”

In separate criminal activity, Norman helped organize and lead a conspiracy where for over two and a half years, members purchased thousands of stolen credit and debit card numbers, encoded those numbers onto fraudulent credit cards, and used those cards to buy merchandise including gift cards and cartons of cigarettes.  During the conspiracy, the group made hundreds of thousands of dollars from selling cigarette cartons to buyers from New York City.

Norman was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for his role as a ringleader in the credit card fraud and identity theft scheme, and 12 months in prison for dogfighting. He was also ordered to forfeit $143,605.

Norman is one of 12 defendants who were arrested in the credit card fraud and identity theft case in August 2017 (and the only defendant charged with dogfighting). All pleaded guilty and have now been sentenced.

Name, Age

Hometown

Convictions

Sentence

Rodriguez Norman, 31

Temple Hills, Maryland

Conspiracy to Engage in an Animal Fighting Venture;

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Cigarettes, Aggravated Identity Theft

120 months

Travon Williams, 33

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Cigarettes, Aggravated Identity Theft

108 months

Jamar Johnson, 31

Portsmouth

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

84 months

Nathaneal Williams, 25

Manassas

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Traffic in Contraband Cigarettes, Aggravated Identity Theft

84 months

Marvin Mitchell, 33

Virginia Beach

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

Awaiting sentencing

Ashley Carrillo Howell, 34

Bowie, Maryland

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

70 months

Gentle Tyson, III, 33

Virginia Beach

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

25 months

Ebony Coe, 29

Virginia Beach

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft

25 months

Ronnie Beale, 33

Fort Washington, Maryland

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud

14 months

Ryan McNeil, 32

District Heights, Maryland

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud

14 months

Eugene Cuffee, 34

Norfolk

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud

12 months

Denae Horton, 25

Chesapeake

Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud

2 months

 

Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maya D. Song, Whitney Russell, and Katherine Rumbaugh prosecuted the case, with significant assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan N. Turgeon.

The Manassas Park Police, Fairfax County Police, and Arlington County Police provided significant assistance during this investigation.

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 is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 1:17-cr-214, 226, 227, 240, 252, 251, 254, 312.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated April 6, 2018