– Gameness til the End
By Lisa Redmond
UPDATED: 08/23/2016 10:49:14 PM EDT
LOWELL – Five people arrested in connection with an illegal cockfighting ring in Tewksbury will not be tried for animal cruelty because there is no proof they were involved directly, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
Judge Cesar Archilla dismissed animal-cruelty charges against Rafael Matoso Cardosa, 25, of Dracut; Carlos Castillo, 30, of Lawrence; Cynthia Gonzalez, 41, of Lawrence; Jorge Martinez, 43, of Fitchburg; and Daury Medina, 30, of Methuen.
A second charge of being present at an animal fight was not dismissed and will be the subject at a motion hearing on Nov. 8.
A sixth person, Carlos Delacruz, 30, of Lawrence, accepted two years of pretrial probation on charges of animal cruelty and being present at an animal fight. He must perform 50 hours of community service and complete the Pawedu.com online program, which promotes animal welfare.
From left, top row:
Rafael Matoso Cardosa, 25, of Dracut;
Carlos Castillo, 30, of Lawrence;
Cynthia Gonzalez, 41, of Lawrence.
From left, bottom row:
Jorge Martinez, 43, of Fitchburg;
Daury Medina, 30, of Methuen;
Carlos Delacruz, 30, of Lawrence.
Defense attorney Glen Randall, who represents Castillo, countered there is no proof any of the people in court on Tuesday participated in animal cruelty.
“His presence was established (at the scene), but what has not been established is that Castillo did any of animal cruelty,” Randall said.
Prosecutors can’t say “who did what,” he said.
The judge agreed.
Twenty-four people were arrested by Tewksbury police during a raid on a home at 969 Chandler St. in March. Sixteen of those 24 people have had their cases disposed of with probation, according to prosecutor Whitney Williams.
The two people accused of being the ringleaders – Janette Montanes, 40, who was listed as living in the home, and her boyfriend, Frank Castro, 41, of Dorcester – still face charges of keeping/promoting animal fighting, animal cruelty and being present at an animal fight. They are also scheduled for motions to suppress and dismiss on Nov. 8.
Police had the Chandler Street duplex under surveillance after receiving a tip from a confidential informant that people were gambling on cockfighting in one side of the basement.
Police found people gambling on gamecocks that had spurs attached to them to inflict more damage during the lethal fights. Police seized several packages of spurs, four kits with tape and more than $13,000 in cash.
Animal Control, state Environmental Police and a state humane officer from the Animal Rescue League of Boston responded to the scene to rescue 18 gamecocks. Five roosters were severely injured.
In court on Tuesday, Archilla granted Williams’ motion to have seized gamecocks forfeited so the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals can take ownership.
“Anyone want these birds?” Archilla asked the defendants.
No one answered.
“Too bad. You are not getting them back,” he said.