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Virginia man sentenced to 3 years in dog fighting conspiracy

April 1, 2022 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to federal charges stemming from a multi-state dog fighting conspiracy probe, officials said.

Court documents show Raymond L. Johnson, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber. In addition to a 37-month prison sentence, Johnson was given three years of supervised release.

Records show that in 2019 law enforcement began investigating a dog fighting organization based out of Richmond and extending into Baltimore. In late 2020, agents executed four search warrants and seized numerous dogs and dog-fighting paraphernalia, firearms and ammunition.

Prosecutors said that during the investigation, Johnson talked with co-conspirators about breeding and fighting dogs, past dog fights, coordination of upcoming dog fights and other topics. Johnson hosted two dog fights at his home and videos of the fights were seized.

A search warrant executed at Johnson’s home in Henrico in 2020 recovered nine pit bull terriers with scars consistent with dog-fighting, evidence of dog fighting activities and firearms and ammunition. Johnson, as a convicted felon, was prohibited from possessing the weapons and ammunition.