14 arrested at gambling, cockfighting event in Mulberry

Polk County

Polk County Sheriff’s Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Fourteen people were arrested Wednesday at a gambling and rooster/cockfighting event in Mulberry.

Polk County deputies say they responded to 107 Cesara Drive and found the male suspects gambling, rolling dice and exchanging cash around a wooden table. A 10-year-old child was also present, according to deputies.

On the ground around the table, deputies say they saw bags of a white powdery substance, which tested positive for cocaine. They also saw evidence of a recent cockfight and requested detectives from the PCSO Agriculture Crimes Unit to come to the scene.

According to deputies, Agriculture Crimes detectives found seven dead roosters laying on the ground just 25 feet from where the gambling took place. Detectives also found a dissembled fighting ring, a scale for weighing roosters before fighting and chairs for people to sit and watch the fight, deputies say. Fresh feathers were also found on the ground, stuck to the sides of the ring.

Deputies say detectives found rubber boxing gloves used to train roosters to fight, knives that are strapped to roosters’ legs for fighting and performance-enhancing drugs for roosters. A 55-gallon metal trash barrel contained burned bodies of dead roosters. There were over 100 live roosters individually housed, and a total of 481 roosters and chickens were removed from the property during the investigation, according to deputies.

Thirty-two-year-old Jonathan Simouth, a resident of the property, told detectives that a fight occurred earlier that evening and gambling took place afterward. Deputies say detectives also found a trafficking amount of cocaine and two loaded firearms, an AK-47 and a 12-gauge shotgun.

Mugshot of Jonathan Simouth – Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Simouth is being charged with armed trafficking in cocaine, owning animals for fighting, operating a property for animal fighting, illegal gambling, possession of drug paraphernalia and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Police say Simouth’s prior criminal history includes arrests for burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief, giving false name to a LEO, resisting, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving while license suspended or revoked.

“We received a call for service regarding a cock-fighting event, and found so much more, including a small child in the presence of cocaine and firearms. This is egregious on several levels. I’m glad we were able to shut this down,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The other 13 men who were arrested were charged with attending the fighting of animals, illegal gambling and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies identify the men as:

  • Oscar Pineda (22, Seffner)
  • Leonardo Vidal (30, Plant City)
  • Luis Alberto Hernandez (32, Tampa)
  • Jesus Mora (42, Plant City)
  • Esteban Ibarra (29, Dover)
  • Freddie Villicana (20, Seffner)
  • Troy Flores (24, Mulberry)
  • Juan Resendez (27, Plant City)
  • Antonio Ramirez (50, Plant City)
  • Juan Luis Miranda (33, Lakeland)
  • Jose Hernandez (50, Mulberry)
  • Alfred Trevino, Jr. (31, Plant City)
  • Miguel Lara (32, Dover)

All 14 suspects were transported to the Polk County Jail in Bartow. The child was turned over to his parents, who are neighbors and were not present at the event.

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