An O’Neill, Nebraska, man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty to training roosters for a cockfighting ring.
Fabian Castro, 48, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of participation in an animal-fighting venture, according to Joe Kelly, the U.S. attorney for Nebraska.
Castro, who also will serve two years of supervised release, had faced up to five years in prison.
Evidence at Castro’s plea hearing revealed that he had 31 gamecocks when U.S. Department of Agriculture investigators searched property near O’Neill belonging to Juan Pablo Sanchez Delgado.
Investigators learned through wiretaps that Castro trained the birds to fight in matches where others would gamble on the outcome.
Several of the birds had visible injuries and deformities from their training and from participating in fights, officials said.
Investigators also found syringes, needles and supplements used to stimulate growth.
Sanchez Delgado, 40, a Mexican national, is scheduled to be sentenced May 31 for conspiring to harbor aliens for financial gain. That crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.