Individual Found Guilty For Dogfighting
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Today, after a two-day trial and a 20-minute deliberation, a jury found Ehbrin Castro-Correa, a.k.a. “Chino” guilty of possessing and training an animal for purposes of having the animal participate in an animal fighting venture, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. United States District Court Chief Judge Gustavo Gelpí presided over the trial. Immigration and Customs Enforcement- Homeland Security Investigation (ICE-HSI) was in charge of the investigation.
On June 12, 2017, with jury selection about to begin, Castro-Correa entered a plea of guilty to participating in a dogfight on January 24, 2016 in Juncos, PR. However, at his sentencing hearing on December 19, 2017, Castro-Correa refused to take responsibility for his crime. The court vacated the defendant’s guilty plea and then set the case back on the trial schedule.
On January 24, 2016, defendant used his cellphone to film his dog and another dog engaged in a brutal and bloody dogfight in Juncos. The video was discovered during a search of defendant’s cellphone at the Pan American dock when he attempted to transport six canines to the Dominican Republic for dogfighting. The Dominican Republic is a notorious worldwide haven for dogfights. This discovery led to the execution of a search warrant at his residence, which resulted in the seizure of an additional 25 dogs, dogfighting training materials and instruments, and pharmaceuticals commonly used to condition dogs for dogfighting and treat their wounds.
“This is a bloody and brutal crime where dogs are trained and forced to tear each other apart for the amusement of sick and depraved individuals. It is important to inform the public that it is a violation of federal law to even attend a dogfight,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “The protection of animals is a priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico. Today’s guilty verdict concludes satisfactorily the first case ever tried in the District of Puerto Rico involving dogfights. Individuals who attempt to profit from animal abuse crimes will be investigated, prosecuted, and punished accordingly.”
The defendant is facing up to five years in prison, a fine not to exceed two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00), and a term of supervised release of at least three years. Assistant United States Attorney Scott H. Anderson was in charge of the prosecution of the case.