Detroit Cockfighting Gambling Ring Uncovered, Ex-Baltimore Principal Gambled With School Money

Posted on: March 21, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: March 21, 2017, 09:26h.

An underground cockfighting gambling ring has been uncovered by federal immigration authorities in Detroit, and the bust could lead to the deportation of dozens.

cockfighting gambling ring Detroit
Immigration and federal law enforcement agencies infiltrated an illegal cockfighting gambling ring in Detroit, with some 50 illegal immigrants reportedly involved in the blood sport. (Image:

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an abandoned building in southwest Detroit last weekend that turned up gambling evidence and around 100 gamecock birds. Around 50 people were detained and now face deportation, and one additional person has been arrested on criminal charges.

Along with the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Border Patrol, US Department of Agriculture, and local and state authorities carried out the seizure.

“This operation was taken down because we had information that it was a nuisance in the community,” ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls explained.

Cockfighting Law

The blood sport of cockfighting dates back thousands of years. Not all fights are to the death, but the birds involved almost always suffer extreme physical pain and trauma.

While cockfighting remains common in Southeast Asia, it’s illegal in all 50 US states plus the District of Columbia.

ICE hasn’t released details on the detained immigrants. However, in Mexico, cockfighting is also illegal, though it is permitted in the city of Ixmiquilpan. The practice is also still legal in several US territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

It’s hard to imagine a more despicable form of gambling than betting on the outcome of an animal fight. That’s why when the perpetrators who organize and attend such events are caught by law enforcement, they often receive little public support.

Quarterback Michael Vick can certainly attest to that fact, though the NFL player did manage to make a comeback years after being caught participating in dog fighting.

Gambling With Lunch Money

The Detroit sting wasn’t the only headline-making gambling bust this week. In Maryland, a former high school principal in Baltimore has been accused of stealing money from her employer to gamble with at the Maryland Live Casino.

Leslie Owens served as the principal of Baltimore Community High School for three years before leaving her position last June. It was later revealed that she had allegedly stolen $13,409 from a banking account that was funded through school fundraisers.

Nearly 50 ATM withdrawals were made at the Maryland Live Casino with the school banking card.

The money was supposed to go towards school uniforms, and graduation expenses. Lewis is also accused of stealing electronic devices including four flat-screen televisions.

Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt said in a statement, “There is no one more trusted and relied upon in the school system than a school principal. The betrayal of that trust by Ms. Lewis is monumentally offensive and cannot be tolerated.”

Owens has been charged with six counts including theft and misappropriation by a fiduciary.

Albert Fluker, a colleague of Owens who was hired as a temporary employee, was also named in the investigation. Fluker is charged with theft and conspiracy to commit theft in helping Owens obtain the electronic equipment.