Dog-fighting investigation

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided this photo of a dog being rescued in April 2016 in Rock Island.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A sentencing hearing continues Friday for nine of 10 men who have admitted in federal court to their role in a dog-fighting ring in the Illinois and Iowa Quad-Cities.

Those being sentenced are:

• Demarlo A. McCoy, 30, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty July 14 to sponsoring and exhibiting dogs in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney William Loeffel.

• Ryan M. Hickman, 43, of Rock Island, who pleaded June 13 to possessing dogs for participation in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Robert Hanauer.

• Andre Keywan Lidell, 41, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty June 13 to sponsoring and exhibiting dogs in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Sharbel Rantisi.

• Simmeon Terrell Hall, 29, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty May 22 to sponsoring and exhibiting dogs in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Michelle Schneiderheinze.

• Stantrel Vontrez Knight, 31, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty May 18 to sponsoring and exhibiting dogs in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Andrew Larson.

• Sherrick Cornelius Houston, 44, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty June 27 to conspiracy and possessing dogs for participation in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Donovan Robertson.

• Willie Earl Jackson, 35, of Rock Island, who pleaded guilty June 13 to sponsoring and exhibiting dogs in dog fighting. He is represented by attorney Jack Dusthimer.

• Terrill Onterial McDuffy, 44, of Davenport, pleaded guilty July 12 to conspiracy. He is represented by attorney John Lonergan.

• Jaquan Leontae Jones, 28, of Rock Island, pleaded guilty May 18 to knowingly attending a dog fight, a misdemeanor. He is represented by attorney David Treimer.

The case against a 10th man, Algerron Lee Goldsmith, 47, of Rock Island, is pending. He is charged with conspiracy to sponsor/exhibit pit bulls in an animal fighting venture and possessing dogs for participation in dog fighting.

The men were indicted Jan. 24.

On April 14, 2016, investigators seized 64 pit bull-type dogs from 10 homes in Rock Island and one in Davenport as part of an investigation into a dog-fighting ring that began a year earlier through information developed by the Rock Island Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Quad-Cities Federal Gang Task Force.

The seized dogs were placed into the custody of the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals.

No dog-fighting charges were filed immediately following the seizures, but Hickman and Jackson were arrested on drug offenses.

Federal prosecutors on April 15, 2016, filed a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the seized dogs. They said in the civil complaint that the dogs were involved in and used to commit or facilitate the dog-fighting venture.

FBI Special Agent Samantha Maxwell testified Thursday during the first day of sentencing that two of the dogs had puppies after the seizure.

She said that 30 of the dogs have been adopted, 44 have been euthanized and four died.

Maxwell said the dogs that were euthanized were those that either had serious medical issues or behavioral issues that made them too dangerous to adopt.

Many of the seized dogs, she testified, had injuries that were consistent with dog fighting, such as scarring to the face and head. Many of the dogs also had internal parasites, she said.

In some of the homes, investigators found dog-fighting paraphernalia, such as veterinarian supplies to help dress wounds and canine vitamin supplements, she said.

U.S. District Court Judge Sara Darrow is expected to hand down sentences for the nine men Friday.

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