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WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Some nights, cars and trucks would line the road leading to the five-acre compound of barns and outbuildings waiting to pull inside.

Events were advertised on Facebook, and most of those vehicles came from north of downtown Ossian and Fort Wayne, with the drivers paying several gatekeepers who usually sat at the entrance of a fence admission before entering.

Once inside, those who arrived would gamble on cockfights, something deeply rooted in the Burmese culture of the people who own the compound.

When weren’t doing that, they would torture goats or other animals.

That’s according to newly released Wells Superior Court documents detailing how multiple agencies worked together, went undercover, and spent the better part of a year busting up a cockfighting ring that would draw upwards of 100 people or more to each event and even involved the illegal purchase of meat from Myanmar, which was once known as Burma.

Now, four people are facing felony counts of purchasing an animal for the use of cockfighting.

The Indiana Gaming Commission, the Wells County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Natural Resources began looking into the property at 4305 N. State Road 1 in Ossian as far back as this past December, according to court documents.

Nearly 11 months later, officials would raid the compound Thursday and find at least 100 roosters, hens, and chicks on the property who showed signs of abuse and are believed to have been used in cockfighting.

During the initial stages of the investigation, investigators received tips that cockfighting had been happening at the compound. Investigators, though, had trouble establishing probable cause to go onto the property, according to court documents.

Whenever they arrived at the compound, the homeowner would say nothing was wrong, and investigators could never find sufficient reason to obtain a search warrant to see what was actually happening there, court documents said.

So, investigators began to enlist the help of neighbors to the compound and watched from afar, trying to find ways to peer over a fence surrounding the property to get a better view, according to court documents.

Investigators were able to see fenced-in areas on the property, fenced-in pens that were locked and that appeared to hold various chickens as well as a pit that looked like had been used to burn animals.

Another pit looked to be filled with trash, deceased or decaying animal carcasses, and animal parts that included heads and hides, court documents said.

Investigators then began to include the Wells County Prosecutor’s Office, the Wells County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana State Police as well as several veterinarians from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Surveillance of the compound continued through December and into January, where investigators watched as cars and vehicles would enter the compound.

Since the compound owner was of Burmese descent, investigators began researching how cockfighting works in Myanmar.

“I had also decided to review Internet data concerning the Burmese Culture, specifically with its cultural ties to Cockfighting due to its differences from Cases in which I was familiar and in this region of the United States,” one Indiana Gaming agent wrote in court documents. “I found in general that Cockfighting is thriving in Myanmar (Burma/Asia) but remains a clandestine activity because of prohibitions on betting, or Gambling on fights.”

Investigators also began to notice roosters from the Asil bloodline on the property, which according to court documents is known as an aggressive fighter toward other chickens but friendly to humans.

“They are also known for their intelligent defensive and tactical thinking, keeping power for long times in an endurance fight,” an investigator wrote in court documents.

While continuing watch on the compound, investigators saw upwards of 50 vehicles arrive on some nights, court documents said.

Meanwhile, various law enforcement agencies would continue to receive calls and complaints about what was happening at the compound. Still, police would arrive and be unable to find probable cause to take any steps to uncover the suspected cockfighting.

In March, investigators, with the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found evidence a wholesale food distributor in Fort Wayne may have been importing illegal meats from Myanmar and may have ties to the cockfighting ring, court documents said.

Later, investigators also found a Facebook page with events advertised and began receiving more complaints. Those who would call law enforcement said men would break goats’ hind legs and try to pull them up by the neck with a rope while laughing.

Others said cattle would be tied together by their horns so they could not eat or drink, court documents said.

This past October, investigators decided to go undercover and try to purchase a fighting rooster.

A man accused of illegally purchasing roosters, identified as the primary owner of the property, Kan Lay, talked about being able to sell fighting fowl for $300 a piece. He also is accused of trying to sell them a rooster who had fought “20 minutes 3 or 4 times,” court documents said.

Lay is also accused of showing the undercover investigators other birds used for breeding, offering them up for between $800 and $1,500, court documents said.

The Human Society of the United States then entered the investigation, providing expertise on how animal fighting and training works, according to court documents.

Finally, in late October, Wells County prosecutors filed charges in the case, and the property was raided with help from the Ossian Police Department, the Bluffton Police Department, and the Indianapolis Animal Care Services

Kan Lay, Aung Myint, and Ma Nyun Sun are those so far charged.

Birds taken during the raid were found to have abrasions with feather loss on their head, chest, or legs.

What appeared to be a bloodstained arena was found on the property. Animal fighting experts on scene characterized it as a suspected cockfighting pit. More than 20 chairs were situated around the pit and cigarette butts littered the ground, indicating spectators would gather as roosters were staged against each other to fight.

“The lives of chickens bred for cockfighting are heartbreaking, and the only way to spare animals from these horrors is to end this cruel criminal activity,” said Samantha Morton, Indiana state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are honored to work with the Indiana Gaming Commission and all the agencies involved in getting these birds out of this nightmare situation.”