Michael Vick Investigation
For those of you who did not know, the highly publicized case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and his dog fighting operation was spearheaded by Senior SA Jim Knorr of OIG's Beltsville, MD office. OIG was the lead agency on that investigation, although you could never tell it by the news media articles that I read.
The following are two press releases concerning this case made by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
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Congratulations to Jim and the other agents who worked this case.
From Dan Truxel:
Here's a trip down memory lane. I recall taking part in an investigation of dog fighting in Truman, AR, some time before I left OIG in 83. Under an alias, I subscribed to three dog fighting "journals" in Temple. Between our region and Hyattsville, we got info that a fight was to take place on a weekend in Arkansas on a particular US Hwy...we knew at least one of the promoters...between the two regions and the Humane Society of the US there were at least three UC/CI's invited to the fight...I can't recall the agent's name from Hyattsville, maybe John LNU, but we were dispatched by Bob McGee to "provide intelligence" for the adventure...as I recall we called motels in every town up and down the highway in NE AR looking for the name of the promoter until we found same...went up and met with the USA who was a classmate of the States Attorney from Osceola, AR. The FBI was involved, AR state police, and a "sting" unit from Memphis PD on which the movie Hot Stuff with Dom DeLouise was loosely based...an AUSA in Memphis flew his private aircraft with FBI observers on the surveillance predicate to obtaining a warrant...a local citizen had intercepted radio telephone conversation(s) between the farm owner and one of the promoters...an FBI agent moved into the motel used by the promoters and obtained the room adjacent to theirs, from which the Memphis PD unit got video tape of a promoter and the local sheriff walking one of the fighting dogs...I recall meeting with the states attorney, collating data from the field surveillance and working on an affidavit for a warrant of the farm for the Saturday night fight...we were sworn in as state police for the day, and mysteriously, some weapons were made available for the two USDA OI agents who heretofore did not have statutory authority of arrrest...Friday noon we were called to the FBI to learn the FBI had pulled out of the investigation because the Secretary of Agriculture had not personally requested the AG for FBI assistance--the statute provided for assitance from any Federal, State, local or tribal authority--the FBI agreed to hang on to the room in my alias name, and the Memphis unit moved in...we met at the State Police office in Jonesboro where the head of the State Police in that area had invited the Sheriff and all his deputies to help in a matter...each deputy was paired up with a trooper and no outside calls were permitted...we knew the promoters use police scanners and countersurvellance techniques...the local county trooper led no less than 20 vehicles full of cops and the USDA OI "observers" around a soy bean field before we arrived at the fight scene, a crop duster hanger with a pit and bleachers on three sides...plenty of Barbeque, women, children, and oh yes, guns, knives, dope, and dogs...the raid went off without a shot fired...I still have that S&W Model 59 in my collection...the states attorney had a Model 39 with ammo in a Crown Royal bag...the things we remember! Some of the dogs disappeared in the custody of the Sheriff on the way back to the county seat...I recall that the USA's office accepted the case for prosecution...after the raid, the FBI rejoined the case under the interstate aid to racketeering statute, the Hyattsville agent lead the case, and the Sheriff had to recover the seized weapons he had distributed to various citizens of the county...I marveled at the time that our statute was only a misdemeanor, but I believe this was the first time it was used to prosecute such a case...we had fight participants from Georgia, New York City, an Canada among others...by the by, in the instant Vic case, AUSA Mike Gill, was previously stationed in Dallas where I met him in my current capacity of CSO...great work in the current case by USDA OIG!!