MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Four people were indicted on federal charges in late March for owning and operating a cockfighting venue in Citronelle, according to an indictment filed in the Southern District of Alabama.
The indictment claims that four people, Steven Brewer, Derek Woodyard Jr., Crystal Asher and Chelsea Helm, operated the animal fighting venture since 2010.
The indictment came after a multi-year investigation by undercover investigators and the FBI.
The cockfighting ring was held in a large building off Hutto Road in Citronelle. The indictment claims that Steven Douglas ran the cockfighting operations and performed all the upkeep on the property.
To obtain entry into the fight, the customer would pay $25 to get through the gate. Brewer collected the gate fees and would pay fighters, referees and himself with the proceeds.
A concession stand was also on the property that served drinks, snacks and even supplies for cockfighting. Those proceeds would also go to Douglas.
Two women, Crystal Asher and Chelsea Helm, ran the concession stand operations and did the bookkeeping for the venture. The indictment claims that Helm, “sold t-shirts, hats, writing pads, ink pens, moleskins and other items to facilitate the rooster fights.”
Asher recorded participant’s names and collected entry fees. She also counted the money and recorded the night’s numbers on a written ledger sheet.
Federal investigators believe there were 14 to 15 people working at cockfighting ring nightly. During a one year period from 2015 to 2016, seventeen fights were held at the property.
Participants and spectators voted on all the fights and the bets ranged from anywhere from $10 to $2,000.
One other person was indicted, Derek Woodyard Jr., who was also the owner of the property on Hutto Road. Federal investigators believe that Woodyard destroyed a laptop given to him by Brewer that contained the records of the fights.
Undercover officials described the large building where the fighting took in the indictment:
In the center of the building is a two-foot high platform with clear plexi-glass around it. This is the main rooster fighting pit. Around the pit are wooden stadium style bench seating on three sides. On the south side of the building there is a second floor balcony that also has stadium style bench seating. On the north side of the building there is a second flood platform where there is a large tracking board for the winners/losers of fights and a board that shows which roosters are fighting next. There is also a desk and a PA system on that second floor platform. The PA system can make announcements throughout the entire compound. There is a small concession stand that sells food, drinks, and water right outside the front entrance of the main building.”
No pictures of the four people indicted were provided. News Five is working to gather more details and will update when they become available.