A federal magistrate judge on Thursday unsealed an indictment charging Brexton Redell Lloyd, 54, with conspiracy and 13 counts of violating the Animal Welfare Act’s prohibitions on animal fighting.
He is accused of keeping pit bulls at his home in Eagle Springs, N.C., training the dogs for fighting ventures, “and conspiring to commit these acts throughout the United States,” according to a U.S. Justice Department statement.
Authorities rescued the dogs in March when they executed a search warrant at Lloyd’s residence.
His arrest is part of Operation Grand Champion, which prosecutors described as a coordinated effort of numerous federal judicial districts to combat organized dog fighting. Grand champion is a term used by dog fighters to refer to animals with more than five “victories.”
About 100 dogs have been rescued under the operation, the government says.
The Animal Welfare Act is a federal law that makes animal fighting a felony for knowingly selling, buying, possessing, training, transporting, delivering or receiving any animal for the purpose of having the animal participate in a fighting venture. That includes holding animal fights for sport, waging or entertainment.
If convicted, Lloyd could face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each count.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Agriculture Department, FBI and Justice Department, with help from the North Carolina Highway Patrol and Moore County Sheriff’s Office.