McDOWELL, Ky. (AP/WSAZ) -- A Floyd County father and son have pleaded guilty to participating in an enterprise that authorities believe was one of the largest cockfighting pits in the country.
A U.S. Agriculture Department investigator said the business at McDowell in Floyd County had arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant.
Pleading guilty Thursday were 51-year-old Walter Dale Stumbo and 25-year-old Joshua Dale Stumbo.
The pair admitted to conspiring to sponsor or exhibit an animal in a fighting venture and conducting an illegal gambling business.
They also pleaded guilty to involvement in possessing and transporting roosters across the state line from Virginia to the Big Blue club and transporting gaffs, or sharp knives that are attached to roosters' legs, across state lines.
Each faces up to 55 years in prison when they are sentenced in October.
The case against 51-year-old Sonya Stumbo is ongoing.
A published report says 57-year-old Wesley Dean Robinson and 33-year-old Jonathan Robinson of Wise County, Virginia have also pleaded guilty to their involvement in the cockfighting ring.
The report says the government wants to more than $900,000 from those involved in the case.
The three, along with two Virginia residents, are charged with conspiring to operate an illegal gambling enterprise and illegally conduct cockfights at the Big Blue Sportsmen's Club in McDowell, Kentucky, according to news release from the U.S Attorney for Western District of Virginia on Monday.
Those charged are 51-year-old Walter Dale Stumbo, 51-year-old Sonya Stumbo and 25-year-old Joshua Stumbo of Floyd County, Kentucky, and 57-year-old Wesley Dean Robinson and 33-year-old Jonathan Robinson of Wise County, Virginia.
The five were arrested during a joint federal/state multi-agency operation in Virginia and Kentucky Saturday morning.
The criminal complaint alleges the defendants, and others, organized a comprehensive cock fighting derby at Big Blue, which included collecting “parking” fees from spectators, entrance fees from handlers and offering for sale such services as antibiotics for fighting birds, a full-service restaurant for spectators, slot machines and fighting gaffes for fighting cocks.
The complaint also alleges that on fight weekends at Big Blue, spectators and handlers traveled from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Georgia.
The complaint further alleges that entrance fees at Big Blue were $250 per entry with approximately 100 total entries per derby.
The Stumbos appeared in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, Kentucky, Monday and were released on bond. They are also directed to appear in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, on Tuesday.
Five other people, all from Pound, Virginia, were arrested on a variety of state charges during the operation.
A spokesperson for Representative and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Floyd) tells WSAZ.com that the three Stumbos arrested in this case are distant cousins of the Speaker.