GOODING — A man who police say admitted to organizing a cockfight last month in Gooding County has become the first person in Idaho to face a felony for organizing rooster fights.
Prosecutors charged Jose Rosario Miramontes-Tostado, 44, of Gooding with a felony count of exhibition of cockfights. He’s due to be arraigned April 24 in Gooding County Magistrate Court.
Police say Miramontes-Tostado admitted he organized the fight that was discovered March 25 at 2406 East and 1300 South, northeast of Gooding. Sheriff’s deputies detained 150 people during their investigation and seized 80 roosters that were euthanized the following day by the Idaho Humane Society.
It was the first cockfight discovered by Idaho law enforcement in nearly 10 years and the first since the state legislature passed a law in 2012 making it a felony to organize a cockfight when drugs or gambling are involved.
Gooding County Sheriff’s deputies found marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the March 25 fight and said Miramontes-Tostado admitted there was gambling taking place.
“He told me on his own accord that they fight the roosters and make bets for money,” Deputy Nick Thiemann wrote in a sworn affidavit.
Gooding County Prosecutor Matt Pember said in an email that misdemeanor charges could follow for others, but “we have filed felony charges against who we believe to be the organizer of the fight.”
“We are waiting on misdemeanor reports from law enforcement regarding the numerous participants,” Pember said. “Law enforcement is still investigating and preparing those reports. Filing will happen soon after we receive them.”
Deputies responded to the rural residence March 25 after receiving a noise complaint where a neighbor said she believed she heard roosters fighting, court documents said. Thiemann went to the residence and confirmed the fighting noises, then waited for backup before entering the property.
“I could then see a large number of people standing around a make-shift arena. In the arena were two roosters that appeared to be fighting,” Thiemann wrote in his affidavit. “Deputy Germann and I gave orders for everyone to stay where they were and show us their hands.”
Several people fled through a back roll-up door as deputies investigated, and Thiemann used his stun-gun to subdue one man who tried to escape, court documents said.
Gooding County Sheriff Shawn Gough eventually identified Miramontes-Tostado as “the individual responsible for arranging the event.” Deputies found 80 roosters being kept in cardboard and wooden boxes as well as marijuana and a pipe.
Anyone who participated in the cockfight could be charged with a misdemeanor, while prosecutors were able to charge Miramontes-Tostado with a felony because of the drugs and gambling.
The roosters were euthanized, which an Idaho Humane Society spokeswoman said is the most humane treatment. They can’t be adopted or used for other purposes because they’ve been “given various drugs such as strychnine, caffeine, amphetamines and epinephrine to make them more aggressive and increase their endurance.”