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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 18, 2018
McGregor W. Scott
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood

Tulare County Men Indicted in Firearms and Cockfighting Case

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment today against Pedro Gavino, 23, and his father, Pedro Gavino-Robles, 58, both of Orosi, charging them with four felony counts of animal cruelty violations relating to cockfighting, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

In addition, Gavino was charged with dealing firearms without a license and nine counts of possessing and transferring firearms in violation of the National Firearm Act. According to court documents, from February 2017 to October 4, 2018, Gavino sold homemade AR-15 style assault rifles that did not have any serial numbers or manufacture markings. Gavino was not a licensed firearms dealer. During one of his firearms transactions, Gavino sold gamecocks and knives or gaffs for the purpose of cockfighting. Gavino and his father, Pedro Gavino-Robles, allegedly bought, trained, and sold hundreds of gamecocks from their ranch and attended cockfights in Tulare County. During the execution of a federal search warrant at their ranch, agents found at least 150 gamecocks and 278 knives used in cockfighting.

Cockfighting violates federal law and is outlawed in all 50 states. In cockfighting, roosters, bred for fighting and often provided with stimulants to make them more aggressive, are placed in a pit and goaded to fight. With knives attached to their legs, the birds kick one another to the death, all for the entertainment and profit of spectators, exhibitors, and sponsors.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with assistance from the Dinuba Police Department and the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), consisting of officers from the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, and Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen A. Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Gavino is scheduled to be arraigned in the federal court in Fresno on October 19, 2018. An arrest warrant has issued for Gavino-Robles. If convicted, Gavino faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the nine counts of possessing and transferring unregistered firearms. He also faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for dealing firearms without a license. Both defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the four counts relating to selling gamecocks and knives used in cockfights. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Field Division: San Francisco Field Division