A federal grand jury returned an indictment, unsealed today, charging eight defendants with 83 counts of federal dogfighting offenses stemming from an investigation into drug trafficking and a large-scale illegal dogfighting operation involving approximately 100 dogs. The 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 placed with appropriate foster organizations. In addition to setting out the facts supporting the charges, the indictment alleges that at one of the locations searched where dog fighting events were conducted, investigators discovered the remains of a recently-deceased dog, confirming that dog fights were recently held at that location.
“The United States Attorney’s Office takes allegations of dogfighting very seriously. Our society can be judged, in part, by how we treat our animals,” Keefe said. “This office will work with our partners at the federal, state, and local levels to pursue such cases vigorously.”
The defendants named in this indictment are:
- Jermaine Terrell Hadley, 31, Quincy, Florida;
- Devar San Jacus Donaldson, 27, Quincy, Florida;
- Sariem Shanquell McMillian, 23, Quincy, Florida;
- Randell Lavel Colston, 47, Quincy, Florida;
- Bob Streets, 35, Quincy, Florida;
- Zanntayfey Yohoun Bennett, 35, Quincy, Florida;
- Dennis Lamar Howard, 45, Chattahoochee, Florida; and
- Leonard Safford, 37, Gretna, Florida.
The 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 through 2019. During the operation, search warrants were executed on properties allegedly involved in training, housing, and conducting illegal dogfights.
The charged defendants face penalties of up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $250,000, per count of conviction.
On May 8, 2019, Hadley, Donaldson, McMillian, and Colston were among a dozen individuals indicted on federal drug trafficking offenses for allegedly distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA throughout the north-central Florida Panhandle between 2018 and 2019.
The cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Chattahoochee Police Department, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Air National Guard Counterdrug Program. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric Mountin.
The OCDETF approach to combating drug trafficking is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt and dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize its assets.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, visit justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.