A 45-year-old Douglas County man Friday pleaded guilty to a felony charge in connection with operating a cockfighting ring south of Eudora.
According to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office, Ezequiel Olivas entered the plea to unlawful conduct of cockfighting.
Douglas County Sheriff’s officers began investigating Olivas and another man, Jose Guerrero, in April 2007, and officers obtained a search warrant in November 2009 on Olivas’ rural residence about 7 miles south of Eudora, in which officers seized 118 gamecocks, 48 hens and three chicks, according to Branson’s office.
The Kansas Legislature enacted tougher legislation in 2009 that made the crime a felony, and Olivas’ case was believed to be the first charged under the new law.
Guerrero was also charged, but as both men were free on bond he failed to show up for court in 2009. According to court records, his $5,000 bond was forfeited because the bondsman was unable to locate Guerrero, and his case is still listed as pending.
District Judge Kay Huff is scheduled to sentence Olivas June 7, and prosecutors said Olivas likely faces a probation sentence because he lacks a significant criminal history to be sentenced to prison.
Paul Morrison, a former Kansas attorney general now in private practice, defended Olivas in the case. Assistant district attorney Eve Kemple prosecuted the case.