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Dozens of dogs seized; names of suspects released

Four suspects were arrested Wednesday on federal and state charges following raids on a mobile home residence at 1056 Doctor Lacy Trail and a residence located at Golden Leaf Road in Nathalie.

Three of the individuals arrested were indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke.

Jonathan Kennard Williams, 26, of 1092 Golden Leaf Road, Nathalie, also known as “Scoota” or “Scooter” was charged in a federal indictment with three counts of distributing crack cocaine, one count of being a felon illegally in possession of a firearm, one count of illegally transferring a firearm and one count of conspiring to sell or transport a dog or animal to be used in an animal fighting venture.

Twenty-three-year-old Jermaine Thaxton, also of Nathalie was charged in the same federal indictment, with one count of conspiring to sell or transfer a dog or animal to be used in an animal fighting venture.

According to information contained in the indictment, on Aug. 18, 2010, Williams and Thaxton allegedly sold a pit bull fighting dog to a confidential informant for $400. Williams allegedly discussed the price with Thaxton before agreeing to the sale price.

Thaxton is suspected to have presented the dog to another animal to provoke a fight before walking the dog to the informant’s car and placing the dog in the trunk.

Approximately a month later, Williams allegedly met with an undercover ATF (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) agent and discussed the dog fighting business and the purchase of fighting dogs.

According to information from Brian P. McGinn of the United States Attorney’s Office in Roanoke, Williams told the officer that he goes to North Carolina to conduct all of his dog fighting.

The drug and gun charges were filed in relation to Williams’ alleged distribution of crack cocaine and alleged possession of a Tec9, 9-mm semi-automatic pistol and a .38 caliber revolver.

A federal grand jury charged 60-year-old William Cullen Thaxton of 1056 Dr. Lacy Trail, Nathalie with one count of distributing more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of knowingly possessing a firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate commerce which had the manufacturer’s serial number removed or altered.
William Thaxton has not been charged with any federal charges relating to dog fighting.

Also arrested was 23-year-old Levar Adams of 2177 Acorn Road, Nathalie.

Halifax County Sheriff’s Department Investigator J.D. Clay said Adams was arrested on state drug distribution charges.

Williams, Jermaine Thaxton and William Thaxton were transported to a Roanoke jail by authorities. They will be held there pending an initial court appearance.

Adams is being held in the Halifax County Adult Detention Center.

Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin said multiple firearms, narcotics and “a fairly large amount” of cash along with dog fighting paraphernalia were found at both locations.

At the mobile home residence, authorities seized 41 dogs, a number of which were suspected used in dog fighting.

The animals that were confiscated included 25 adult pit bulls, seven pit bull puppies, three adult beagles and six beagle puppies.

Noblin said the investigation that led to the arrests started nine months to a year ago.

“We have received many citizen complaints with reference to trafficking in narcotics and possible dog fighting in this area,” Noblin explained during a press conference at the residence.

“According to the people (in the community) this has been going on in this area for several years. As the investigation progressed, the dog fighting was included.

“We believe dog fighting was taking place on the property,” Noblin added, “and that dogs were being bought and sold from the area.”
Noblin called the number of dogs seized in the raid at Dr. Lacy Trail “a huge amount.”

The level of injuries to the dogs and the level of aggression in the dogs varied, authorites said.

The investigation was a multi-faceted investigation with a number of agencies including the Halifax County Sheriff’s Department, The Halifax-South Boston Narcotics and Gang Taskforce, Halifax County Animal Control and South Boston Police Department being involved.

Also involved were the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the ASPCA and the USDA, Virginia Animal Fighting Taskforce, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, Campbell County Animal Control, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Virginia State Police.

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