A key player in a major cocaine and marijuana trafficking organization recently was sentenced to 12 and one-half years in prison following an extraordinary combination of reprehensible crimes. Pedro Mendez Ramos, 41, of Church Point, La., was sentenced in federal court after revelations that his drug operations were built, in part, by his use of illegal cock fights and pit-bull fights to recruit dealers and drivers to move the drugs.
Pit-bull fights are illegal in all states, and cockfights (AP photo by Paul Fraughton) are illegal in nearly all states, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
The Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, dubbed "Operation Fowl Play" and "Rio Gallo," rolled up a network that spanned several southern states. Along with other law enforcement agencies, it seized 118 kilograms of cocaine.
"The organization utilized various methods to conceal their cocaine, to include tractor trailers and trucks with hidden compartments and gamecock cages with false bottoms," according to a DEA statement. "At one point, the Ramos organization had amassed so much cash from the sale of cocaine that Pedro Ramos attempted to purchase Canal Oil Refinery, an oil refinery located in Church Point, La. in order to launder the organization's drug trafficking proceeds."