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Man who took minor to cockfight gets two years

Staff report • Jan 31, 2017 at 5:30 PM

ABINGDON — A Pound man was sentenced on Monday to two years in federal prison for taking a minor to a cockfight in Kentucky, acting U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.

Russell D. Peaks, 40, previously entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon for his role in cockfighting at the Big Blue Sportsmen’s Club in McDowell, Ky., including allowing a minor to be present at a cockfight. He also pleaded guilty to distribution of hydrocodone involving a sale of the drug to an undercover officer and conspiring to facilitate cockfighting.

According to evidence presented at previous hearings, Peaks raised fighting roosters at his home in the Pound area of Wise County. He took his birds to fight at Big Blue and also engaged in cockfighting activities in the Pound area.

On one such occasion, federal authorities said, Peaks allowed a minor to attend the fight. In 2014, Congress passed a law making it a felony to allow a minor to attend an animal fighting event.

Five other individuals previously convicted for their roles at Big Blue were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 18 months and another has signed a plea agreement and intends to plead guilty in the near future, Mountcastle said.

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