MARSHALL, Texas – Harrison County sheriff’s deputies, alongside Texas Parks Agents, discovered a dogfighting operation in the woods near Waskom, just off Strickland Springs Road.
The owner of the property, Jesus Stephens, was arrested.
Deputies initially responded to concerns there was spotlight hunting happening due to lights being seen out in the woods.
When they arrived, deputies saw a large crowd of people, including Stephens, who said he owned the land. Another man informed them that there was dogfighting going on back in the woods. The deputies detained Stephens who lead them back to where the fighting rings were located.
Everyone who was there had ran away from the scene into the woods. Several of them left behind vehicles, phones and empty cash envelopes.
The cages were stained with blood and dirt from the dogs. One dog was found alive, but soon had to be put down from its injuries.
Sheriff B.J. Fletcher believes there were at least 20 dogs there.
Fletcher also believes that Stephens turned himself in to provide an opportunity for everyone else to escape. Also, this might just be one part of a larger operation.
Fletcher said he received a tip from a federal agent shortly before about a dog fighting group possibly spreading to his county. Thus far, they had not gotten any sign of them until Saturday night.
Harrison deputies are working closely with the FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety to pursue leads. Because there was a large amount of evidence at the scene, Fletcher is confident there will be several arrests made in the coming days.