INDIANAPOLIS – Court documents unsealed on Wednesday revealed that a dogfighting ring based out of Indianapolis that led to a late August raid has been in operation since 2001.
According to a criminal complaint, filed on Aug. 25 but unsealed on Wednesday, 10 people were charged with one count of conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture between no later than December 2020 and Aug. 23. Those individuals include:
- Gregory Henderson Jr.;
- Christopher Norfolk;
- Maurice Ervin;
- Michael Sanders;
- James Croons;
- Charles Richardson III;
- Landon Jones;
- Edward Bronaugh;
- Donovan Tipler;
- Marvin Johnson Jr.
This comes after federal, state and local authorities raided multiple locations around Indianapolis on Aug. 31. This raid, according to previous reports, targeted drugs and dogfighting operations in the area. During the raid, authorities said at the time that they found 75 dogs, as well as a number of guns and drugs.
At the time, officials with the FBI said that the agencies conducted the raid in relation to a federal investigation “into potential drug trafficking and animal fighting.”
The complaint said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General began its investigation into a local dogfighting ring in Indianapolis when Brounaugh was initially arrested in October 2022 in Mississippi.
On Oct. 4, 2022, Bronaugh was pulled over in Mississippi on a traffic violation. A probable search uncovered drugs, as well as 11 pit bulls of various ages and conditions. The documents said that the officer at the time recognized the wounds and scars of two of the pit bulls “as being consistent with those animals having been utilized for dog fighting.”
In a statement given to police at that time, the documents state that Bronaugh operated “Roll and Hold Pet Express,” a business based out of Indianapolis.
“The Mississippi officer later informed a member of the Indiana Gaming Commission that Bronaugh explained he routinely transports dogs for his business,” the documents said, “but Bronaugh was evasive as to where the pit bulls from his van had come from, or where he was to deliver them.”
In a search of Bronaugh’s phone, officials said in the documents that videos and documents were found involving dogfighting, including a video of a fight and a PDF document of the “Cajun Rules of Dogfighting.”
Officials with the USDA-OIG said at the time that multiple suspected dogfighters were initially identified through a review of Bronough’s cell phone and ultimately revealed a dogfighting enterprise had been “actively operating” in the Indianapolis area as far back as June 2001.
Later in October 2022, police installed a GPS tracking device on Bronaugh’s Pontiac Montana van. Since Oct. 31, 2022, officials said in the documents that the van traveled throughout the United States, as far as Texas and Arkansas, along with Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Officials said in the documents that they believe the travel was “in furtherance of the dogfighting activities.”
Other texts and social media also uncovered Bronaugh’s connections throughout the country to dogfighting – including messages with others listed in the complaint, like Norfolk, Richardson and Tipler. This included details surrounding the transports, prices and ways to pay for dogs allegedly involved in the fighting.
Other messages listed in the complaint, including ones between Norfolk and Henderson, also included videos of alleged fights and messages surrounding and planning later dog fights.
According to the documents, Henderson was also charged, with 10 others, on a drug trafficking-related charge, after the late August raid.
The group was charged specifically with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances, to include 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, and/or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine between no later than November 2022 and Aug. 23. The other individuals who were charged include:
- Ramiro Rico De Leon;
- Octavio Vicencio;
- Erick Foster;
- George Taylor;
- J.C. Smith;
- Dontoria Gilbert;
- David Bennett;
- Gregory Easter;
- Lauren Eggert;
- Quoshawn Stewart.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, along with other law enforcement officials, are expected to host a news conference on Thursday surrounding the investigation.
This is a developing story. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.