Last defendant pleads in SC cockfighting ring

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The last of nearly two dozen people charged in connection to a South Carolina cockfighting ring has pleaded guilty.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says 61-year-old Buster Dale Moore of Andrews pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act and to operating an illegal gambling business. The plea came one day into a trial that was expected to last several more days.

Moore is the last of 23 people facing charges including operating an unlawful animal fighting venture, illegal gambling and conspiracy. Nettles says several co-defendants had been scheduled to testify against Moore.

Six others were convicted Friday, and 16 others have already pleaded guilty. Moore faces up to five years in prison, and sentencing for all defendants is set for July.

Columbia, SC - Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.