Local News

Animal Cruelty Investigation Results in Arrests, Drug Seizure, and a Warrant for a Morgan City Man

 

***UPDATE***

Jesus Fernandez has been arrested on August 11, 2021 at 3:12 pm.

 

Sheriff Blaise Smith announces that an investigation into animal cruelty began in September of 2020 in St. Mary Parish has resulted in the arrests of three people and a warrant has been obtained for Jesus Fernandez of Morgan City on additional charges of animal cruelty and cockfighting.
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Jesus Fernandez, 61, Morgan City, LA, was arrested on August 7, 2021, at 8:46 pm on the following charges:
• Improper lane usage
• Possession of schedule II with intent to distribute (cocaine)
• Possession of drug paraphernalia
• Transactions involving drug proceeds
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Artemio Rodriguez, 43, Amelia, LA, was arrested on August 10, 2021, at 2:49 pm on a warrant for animal cruelty.
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Maria Ortiz, 44, Amelia, LA, was arrested on August 10, 2021, at 2:38 pm on a warrant for animal cruelty.
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In September 2020, an investigation was began regarding Jesus Fernandez selling drugs in the Morgan City area as well as being involved in fighting chickens in the area.
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On August 7, 2021, a detective with the St. Mary Parish Narcotics Section conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle and made contact with the driver, Fernandez. During the stop, a K9 deputy deployed K9 Doerak to conduct an open-air sniff of the area around the vehicle. K9 Doerak showed a positive odor response and subsequently, drugs, drug paraphernalia, and cash were located. During the investigation, detectives also found chickens in cages that appeared to have been used in cockfighting. Fernandez was arrested and transported to the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center for booking and was later released on a $31,750 bond.
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As the investigation progressed, a search warrant was executed on August 10, 2021, at a residence in Amelia with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Toney Wade with the Cruelty Investigation Task Force. Chickens, sheep, and other animals were found to be in poor condition and were without proper food and water. Dead chickens were also found on the property. 166 chickens and 16 sheep/goats were seized.
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As a result of this investigation, Rodriguez and Ortiz were arrested and charged with Animal Cruelty. They were released on a summons to appear on November 2, 2021.
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Sheriff Blaise Smith says that a warrant has been obtained for Jesus Fernandez on the charges of Cock Fighting (147 counts) and Animal Cruelty (151 counts).
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“Animal cruelty will not be tolerated in St. Mary Parish. My message is simple… if you know something, say something. Contact us with any information you have concerning this.”
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Citizens with information on the location of Jesus Fernandez may call and report it to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office Communications Section at (337) 828-1960.

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