(WHAS11) - Police say it may be one of the largest cockfighting rings in the Southeast, drawing hundreds of spectators each month.
Undercover state police officer busted an operation in Edmonson County Saturday charging 72 people.
It's normally quiet along Segal Road in Brownsville, but a half mile down a gravel driveway, just past the guard shack, is the Brownsville Testing Facility.
There, authorities say a vast criminal enterprise operated monthly tucked away from the prying eyes of neighbors and the law.
“There were thousands upon thousands of dollars being bet at every one of these meets,” said Edmonson County Attorney Gregory Vincent.
Undercover Kentucky State Police officers rolled in Saturday, seizing drugs, weapons and $35,000 cash which they say was being bet on fights-to-the-death.
“They had a stadium built just for chicken fighting. They had a schedule that was given to the regular customers and patrons. This was the last fight of the season,” said Vincent.
Investigators say the facility opened at 9am on fight days and didn't close until nearly midnight, after hundreds of fights had taken place.
They say the arena had a concession stand, sold hats and t-shirts and featured other amenities.
“They had locker rooms for the handlers and the chickens,” said Vincent. “They were air conditioned with music. I don't know what music chickens go for, but they had music going.”
Police arrested nine men for cruelty to animals, promoting gambling, and possession of gambling records.
James Martin, who owns the property, is described as the ringleader.
Others came from as far away as Chicago and Alabama.
“Out of 72 people that received some type of citation, there were five or less that were locals,” said Vincent.
Police are not releasing photos, but they say the roosters were kept in small cages.
Most Edmonson County residents WHAS11 spoke with said they had not been to the fights but they knew they went on.
“I knew where they used to hold them cause you go by and you see a lot of dead chickens,” said McCoy Van Meter.
But that doesn't mean everyone's opposed to cockfighting.
“Let them go if they want to do it,” Van Meter said.
All of the cocks were left with Martin at the facility, since neither state police nor animal control had facilities to care for them.
All 72 suspects will be arraigned in Edmonson County District Court in two weeks.