ANIMAL WATCH - Criminal charges resulted from a recent federal investigation which found a deeply entrenched dog-fighting operation involving Pit Bulls and a gambling ring being run for over twenty years by Frederick Moorefield Jr., 62, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, and his long-time friend Mario Flythe, 49, both of whom reside in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
The ring regularly trained dogs for fighting, arranged “matches” involving thousands of dollars in betting, and executed dogs that lost but didn’t die during these gruesome events, according to court records.
A Department of Defense official reportedly revealed to DefenseScoop on the condition of anonymity that, “Moorefield was on what’s known as ‘terminal leave’ from DOD and was getting set to retire in the weeks leading up to the arrest.”
The criminal complaint against Moorefield and Flythe was filed on September 21, 2023, and was unsealed at the defendants’ initial appearances on September 28, 2023, at which time Judge J. Mark Coulson ordered that both defendants be released pending trial, according to the Department of Justice report.
Each faces up to five years in federal prison after being charged with “promoting and furthering” dogfighting, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland announced.
Frederick Douglass Moorefield, Jr., 62, has been serving as a Deputy Chief Information Officer for Command, Control and Communications for the office of the Secretary of Defense since March 2020, according to court records and his social media profile. He also states that he has a master’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering.
Although Moorefield’s name has been removed from the Defense Department website, among his duties listed on the earlier version, preceding his arrest, Moorefield was responsible for issuing guidance for Defense Department policy and technical issues, strategizing communication plans for the agency's “non-nuclear strategic strike” and “integrated missile defense.”
Frederick Douglass Moorefield Jr. Arrested
He was arrested Sept. 28 on a charge of promoting and furthering an animal fighting venture, along with his long-time friend Mario D. Flythe, 49, of Glen Burnie, Md., who allegedly admitted his participation in dogfighting.
Similar to the gruesome discoveries at Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in 2007, investigators found a device consisting of an electrical plug and battery jumper cables, typically used to execute dogs, at Moorefield’s house along with five Pit Bull-type dogs. Another five similar dogs were found at Flythe’s house, court records reveal.
The FBI, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other local and federal agencies raided both houses on September 6, and discovered—among other dog-fighting paraphernalia—weighted collars and heavy chains used to increase the neck strength of fighting dogs, according to the federal affidavit.
Authorities said they also found an apparatus that is used for involuntarily insemination of female dogs, a dog training schedule, and a weighted dog vest with the words “Geehad Kennels” emblazoned on it, along with a stained gray carpet that appeared consistent with blood stains derived from multiple dogfights, per the affidavit.
On Tuesday, October 3, a federal grand jury indicted both men on charges of conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture, possessing, and training animals for fighting, and other related counts.
PENTAGON CONFIRMS AWARENESS OF COMPLAINT
Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Monday that the Defense Department was “aware of the criminal complaint” filed against Moorefield but added, “We can confirm that the individual is no longer in the workplace, but we cannot comment further on an individual personnel matter.”
The authorities’ investigation of Moorefield's phone and online records also revealed that Moorefield had been involved in dog fights since 2002 and evidence indicated that some fights occurred as recently as earlier this year, the affidavit stated.
The pair allegedly used an encrypted messaging app, called “the DMV,” to communicate with people across the country about dogfighting bets, dogs that died from staged dogfighting events, and to transmit media reports nationwide on dogfighting activities and arrests and charges brought involving the gruesome blood sport, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday. They also allegedly “discussed how to train dogs for dogfighting, planned dogfights and talked about how to evade law enforcement,” according to NPR.
Moorefield operated under the name, “Geehad Kennels,” and Flythe was known as, “Razor Sharp Kennels,” for the purposes of identifying and communicating about their dogfighting operations, the U.S. Attorney's office stated.
A lawyer for Moorefield was not immediately available for comment.
PIT BULL BODIES FOUND IN BAG
Court records show that in 2018 Arundula County Animal Control was called to a location approximately six miles from Moorefield’s home where a large plastic bag was found containing the bloody bodies of two dead Pit Bulls and correspondence addressed to Moorefield inside. The report states that the matter was discussed with him but did not result in a further investigation by law enforcement.
Recent speculation suggested that this is how dead bodies of dogs he had sold or had fought were being returned to him.
The records revealed that authorities have apparently been investigating the larger dogfighting group within which Moorefield and Flythe allegedly participated for years. How could they not have noticed his “moniker” appearing regularly, on the DMV and identify him as a high-ranking federal government official who should be investigated?
Why was this known illegal activity allowed by U.S. officials to continue this long?”
WAYNE PACELLE OF ANIMAL WELLNESS ACTION SPEAKS OUT
“What’s noteworthy about the recent federal interdictions in Maryland and Indiana and the sentencing of seven years in prison for a dogfighter in Puerto Rico (see below) is because authorities knew these dogfighting criminals had been operating for years and years,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action (AWA).
“An ability to escape prosecution for dogfighting activities committed over even a decade is no guarantee that they’ll escape arrest indefinitely. Everyone who commits these atrocious crimes against animals risks a long stay in federal prison if they persist and that’s as it should be,” Pacelle added.
Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told Fox News, when asked that same question: “It’s an ongoing case. I think you raised an excellent point on, you know, why or – were behaviors caught when it should have been. That’s something that will be revealed of course as the Department of Justice leads this investigation.”
NINE OTHER “DMV” BOARD USERS INDICTED LAST YEAR
According to court documents, from at least May 2015 through August 2020, Derek Garcia, 41, Ricardo Thorne, 52, and other conspirators from Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, used a messaging app private group, which they generally referred to as “The DMV Board” or “The Board,” as a place where they and their associates could discuss training fighting dogs, exchange videos about dogfighting, and arrange and coordinate dog fights, away from the view of law enforcement authorities.
The report also states that in November 2015, “Thorne told another conspirator that he made a lot of money from charging admission to dog fights that he held for years at a warehouse off Kenilworth Avenue in the District of Columbia. Thorne further said that he had a fighting dog that killed six other dogs in less than a year.” (See: Eastern District of Virginia | Two Men Plead Guilty to Their Roles in Local Dog Fighting Conspiracy.)
INDIANA DOG FIGHTING – MAN SOUGHT FOR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN DOG FIGHTING, DRUG TRAFFICKING
The FBI and other law enforcement officials conducted a raid on August 31 at a residence on Indy’s east side and uncovered what it called a dogfighting operation that had been active since 2001, according to FOX News 59.
However, the suspect, Gregory Henderson, was not present and is still being sought. He faces federal charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to engage in an animal fighting venture.
According to previous reports, Henderson was one of 21 people charged last month with drug trafficking and/or dog fighting who are still being sought for criminal activities which had plagued the neighborhood for years, and included drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine being brought to Indianapolis from Mexico, and dogfighting in which “animals are being exploited in a ‘horrific way,’ according to FOX59 News.”
Officials detailed a raid on the headquarters of Indianapolis’ 34th Street Gang which resulted in confiscation of over 40 guns, more than $50,000 in cash being seized, and around 90 dogs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana said.
Pit Bulls Bred for Illegal Dog Fighting by Brutal Puerto Rican Man for Decades before Arrest and Sentencing
On October 6, 2023, BNN reported the sentencing of a notorious Puerto Rican breeder of fighting dogs for sale worldwide.
Antonio Casillas Monterro, who owned Stone City Kennels in Puerto Rico plead guilty in May to violation of the Animal Welfare Act and was sentenced in late September to seven years in prison, according to the report by Justice Nwafor.
He stressed that the methods of operation by Monterro were especially brutal in that he sold dogs to fighters who allowed them to merely continue to be tortured and wounded in a fight until they died—rather than the owner pulling a dog that “turns” out of the fight (meaning it was too damaged or to terrified to fight any longer). The dogs were then left to have more injury inflicted and die in excruciating pain.
Another point that is stressed in this report is that some professional veterinarians were involved in treating his dogs and signing documents to allow him to transport them from the country by ferry to be shipped all over the world.
In addition, dogs seized from his property had pustules, fungus, were limping and had jaw clamping, according to court documents.
Authorities said Monterro ran his business for more than 35 years, with dogs participating in more than 150 fights in countries including the United States, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.
“The government has not found a comparable case of someone with as many dog fights for as many years as Mr. Casillas,” U.S. prosecutors said during sentencing.
“Casillas exhibited extraordinary cruelty,” prosecutors said during sentencing, and they noted that “dogfighting is an open secret in Puerto Rico that is not targeted by local law enforcement.”
WHY DO DOG FIGHTING RINGS TAKE SO LONG TO BUST?
Dog fighting is a syndicated sport. It is not one or two individuals getting together once a week for a little “rumble” between their pets. Dogfighting is an ugly, vicious, blood- thirsty, but lucrative event, if you bet on the right dog—but the match requires an audience of deranged individuals who thrive on blood, pain, and death of dogs, mainly Pit Bulls.
Therefore, when a ring is identified and busted, it is rife with contacts of other “dogmen”—those who fight dogs and those who place bets on which will survive. Why doesn’t law enforcement follow up on the information that is available in handwriting or, more likely, in confiscated computers and other electronic devices?
These well-organized events do not take place in a vacuum and there are many laws by which to prosecute, from animal cruelty to organized crime, so why is this sordid activity allowed to prosper for years in plain sight—even involving a high-ranking U.S. federal official—with no action taken?
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)