Three men charged in alleged dog fighting conspiracy

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MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging three men – including a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee – with 51 counts of federal dogfighting offenses, prosecutors wrote in a news release.

The charges stem from an investigation into drug trafficking and a largescale illegal dogfighting operation involving more than 100 dogs. The superseding indictment was announced by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. Most of the dogs used by the defendants were recovered by the United States Marshals Service and have been placed with appropriate foster organizations.

The defendants are Jermaine Terrell Hadley, 31, Quincy, Florida; Leonard Safford, 37, Gretna, Florida; Decarlise Chapman, 46, Marianna, Florida.

The superseding indictment adds Chapman, who is an employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as a defendant in the case. Hadley and Stafford, among several other individuals, were named in the June 4, 2019, indictment in this case, but the other defendants have entered guilty pleas and therefore are not included the superseding indictment.

“From the beginning, this case has shocked the sensibilities of decent, law-abiding people throughout the Northern District of Florida – and it’s even more shocking when an individual in a position of public trust has been added to those charged with these shameful activities,” Keefe said.

The superseding indictment and arrests resulted from an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a joint federal, state, and local cooperative, which targeted a drug trafficking organization that also allegedly organized and conducted a large-scale illegal dogfighting operation throughout the Northern District of Florida between 2014 and 2019.

During the investigation, undercover operations were conducted to infiltrate the ring; execute multiple search warrants on properties allegedly involved in training, housing, and conducting illegal dogfights; and successfully raid a dogfight in progress.

If convicted, the charged defendants face penalties of up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000, per count. Trial is set for February 3, 2020, at 8:15 a.m., at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.

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