Multiple members of Verbena's Easterling family were sentenced Tuesday in connection to a large-scale cockfighting operation.
The case stemmed from two cockfighting businesses known nationwide: The Swift Creek Gamefarm and the L&L Gamefarm.
Court documents state that seven members of the Easterling family were connected to the businesses, which bred fighting birds and operated arena-style cockfighting events. The operations were in violation of the Animal Welfare Act and were determined to be illegal gambling businesses.
After pleading guilty to the charges, all seven family members were sentenced.
William Colon "Jim" Easterling, 77, was sentenced to two years of home detention and an $8,000 fine for violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibition against animal fighting ventures and for conspiring with others to violate the Act and to operate an illegal gambling business in connection with the cockfighting pit. The court determined prison time could be detrimental to his declining health.
George William "Billy" Easterling, 56, was sentenced to 22 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Prosecutors said he conspired with others in connection to a cockfighting pit and the Swift Creek Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
Kassi Brook Easterling, 39, was sentenced to two years probation and six months of home detention for conspiring and selling animal fighting tools, including knives.
Brent Colon Easterling, 38, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and one year of supervised release for conspiring with the L&L Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
Thomas Glyn "Junior" Williams, 34, was sentenced to one year of probation for his involvement.
William "Tyler" Easterling, 30, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Prosecutors said he conspired with others in connection to a cockfighting pit and the Swift Creek Gamefarm fighting-bird breeding operation.
Amber Nicole Easterling, 25, was sentenced to one year of probation for her involvement.
It is believed the illegal operations took place from January 2018 through June 11, 2021. The cockfighting events consisted of roosters with sharp blades attached to their legs.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) called the cockfighting operation one of the largest in the country.
“As these sentences vividly show, the Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who encourage and profit from forcing animals to fight each other for human entertainment,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
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