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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Department of Defense Deputy Chief Charged with Facilitating Dogfighting Ring

Law enforcement officers seized a device consisting of an electrical plug and jumper cables, which the affidavit alleges is consistent with devices used to execute dogs that lose dogfights.

A federal criminal complaint has been filed charging Frederick Douglass Moorefield, Jr., age 62, of Arnold, Maryland, and Mario Damon Flythe, age 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland with promoting and furthering animal fighting venture.  The criminal complaint was filed on September 21, 2023, and was unsealed at the defendants’ initial appearances on September 28, 2023.  At their initial appearance, U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson ordered that the defendants be released pending trial under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.

The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office, Criminal and Cyber Division; Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Department of  Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office; U.S. Marshal for Maryland Johnny Hughes; and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal E. Awad.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Moorefield, a Deputy Chief Information Officer for Command, Control, and Communications, for Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Flythe used an encrypted messaging application to communicate with individuals throughout the United States to discuss dogfighting.  Moorefield used the name “Geehad Kennels” and Flythe used the name “Razor Sharp Kennels” to identify their respective dogfighting operations.

For example, as detailed in the affidavit, Moorefield, Flythe and their associates used the encrypted messaging application to discuss how to train dogs for illegal dogfighting, exchanged videos about dogfighting, and arranged and coordinated dogfights.  Moorefield and Flythe also discussed betting on dogfighting, discussed dogs that died as a result of dogfighting, and circulated media reports about dogfighters who had been caught by law enforcement.  As further alleged in the affidavit, Moorefield and others also discussed how to conceal their conduct from law enforcement.

On September 6, 2023, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at Moorefield and Flythe’s residences in Maryland.  Following the execution of these warrants, twelve dogs were recovered and seized by the federal government.  Law enforcement also recovered veterinary steroids, training schedules, a carpet that appeared to be stained with blood, and a weighted dog vest with a patch reading “Geehad Kennels.” In addition, law enforcement officers seized a device consisting of an electrical plug and jumper cables, which the affidavit alleges is consistent with devices used to execute dogs that lose dogfights.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.  If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for possessing, training, or transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Animal Control, and thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia for their valuable assistance in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander Levin and Darryl Tarver, who are prosecuting the case.

Read more at the Defense Department

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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