More than 1,200 people were attending an illegal cockfight on Saturday when police raided it on a farm in Barrio Mercedes de Atenas, 40 kilometers west of Costa Rica’s capital.
Agents from three police units and the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) descended on the farm at 4 p.m. after receiving an anonymous tip. Inside one of the buildings, cops found an elaborate cockfighting stadium with seating for at least 250, according to the daily La Nación. In the back, police found sets of spurs, which were affixed to the roosters’ heels during the fights, and a row of trophies that would have been awarded to the winning birds.
Police shut down the party, seized coolers full of liquor and beer for sale without permits, and arrested two men in possession of illegal firearms. While officials were able to save 120 birds, they could not determine who owned the property.
“This is one of the largest cockfighting rings we have ever broken up,” SENASA legal adviser Antonio Vanderluch told La Nación. “There were a lot of people involved.”
Cockfighting events are illegal in Costa Rica, and property owners convicted of hosting them face fines of up to ₡25 million ($46,000).