Four plead guilty in cockfighting rings

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Four men have pleaded guilty Tuesday to their roles in two cockfighting organizations in Williamsburg County, according to U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald.

Charles E. Allbritton, 67, of Mt. Pleasant; Johnathan Leviner, 38, of Sumter; David Earl Davis, 46, of Andrews and Michael T. Rodgers, 58, of Kingstree, are four of 23 people indicted in November 2009 on animal fighting charges.

Allbritton has been convicted on two counts of animal fighting, while Leviner and Davis face one count each for participating in cockfighting contests in 2008 and 2009.

Rodgers was convicted of one count of conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act by participating in cockfighting contests in Lexington County in 2008 and 2009.

The cases are the result of a 13-month undercover investigation by state and federal authorities, when undercover officers attended eight cockfighting derbies held near Swansea in Lexington County, in addition to Oceida in Williamsburg County.

The remaining 19 suspects are awaiting a court appearance on April 15 in Columbia.

The maximum penalty each defendant faces is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each animal fighting charge. Albritton, Leviner, Davis and Rodgers will be sentenced later this year.

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