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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California
Phillip A. Talbert, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, May 8, 2023

Gun/Gamecock Dealing Results in Guilty Plea

FRESNO, Calif. — Pedro Gavino, 27, of Orosi, pleaded guilty today to selling firearms without a license and conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act by selling gamecocks and participating in cockfighting events, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, from February 2017 to October 2018, Gavino negotiated for the sale of 28 firearms at Gavino’s ranch in Orosi and at different gas stations in Selma. He actually sold 24, including AR-15 type pistols and AR-15 type short-barreled rifles that had been privately made using unfinished receivers, also known as “ghost guns.”

On Feb. 14, 2018, during one of the illegal gun transactions, Gavino sold two American Game Fowl type of birds commonly used for cockfighting and six Mexican slashers, or short knives, that are attached to the leg of a rooster for fighting.

On April 15, 2018, Gavino and his father, co-defendant Pedro Gavino-Robles, 62, brought five gamecocks to a large cockfighting event in an orchard in Orosi where 200 to 300 spectators gathered. After two of the defendant’s gamecocks fought and won there was a dispute, gunshots were fired, and the crowd dispersed. On Oct. 4, 2018, during the execution of a federal search warrant at Gavino’s ranch, agents found 128 gamecocks, 30 hens used for breeding gamecocks, and 278 Mexican slashers.

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

Gavino-Robles is awaiting trial, set for Nov. 7, 2023. The charges against him are only allegations; and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Gavino is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on Sept. 18, 2023. Gavino faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine as to each offense. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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