Oklahoma Report: Anadarko man pleads guilty to aiding and abetting cockfighting operation
Douglas Wayne Butler, 67, entered a guilty plea to aiding and abetting cockfighting, according to First Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester of the Western District of Oklahoma.
A federal grand jury indicted Butler on January 15, 2019, for aiding and abetting the sponsoring of animals in a cockfighting operation that was located on his property on Indian land in Caddo County.
According to the indictment, Butler was running an interstate animal fighting venture that featured the fighting of gamecocks for the purpose of sport, wagering, and entertainment.
A second count charged him with aiding and abetting the possession and receiving of gamecocks for the purpose of cockfighting in interstate commerce. The indictment states Butler engaged in this conduct from January 1, 2015, to March 3, 2016.
According to an affidavit in support of a search warrant, Butler said he held approximately a dozen cockfighting derbies at his residence and that he earned thousands of dollars from cockfighting during 2015.
The affidavit explains he held cockfights in a large red barn with an enclosed pit surrounded by bleachers. He allegedly charged $20 per person at the gate and also profited from sales at an on-site concession stand. According to the affidavit, Butler indicated a cockfight could be attended by many as 200 people, some of whom traveled from Nebraska, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.
Butler, a former Caddo County Deputy Sheriff, is alleged to have told a Special Agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he knew cockfighting was illegal under state law but believed he was entitled to hold cockfights on allotted Indian land under the jurisdiction of the Caddo Nation based on an unspecified treaty.
It is actually a federal felony to knowingly sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture in interstate commerce, regardless of whether the fighting takes place on Indian land. It is also a violation of federal law to knowingly attend an animal fighting venture.
On May 6, Butler pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting cockfighting.
At sentencing, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release. Sentencing will take place in approximately ninety days.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.