Ohio Man Michael Valentine Receives 21-Month Sentence for Dogfighting and Fentanyl Distribution:
In a federal court ruling, Michael Valentine, 40, of Bidwell, Ohio, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
Valentine had previously pleaded guilty to charges related to dogfighting and fentanyl distribution.
Concurrent Sentence with Ongoing 10-Year Term:
The current sentence of 21 months will run concurrently with the 10-year prison term Valentine is already serving on drug distribution charges.
In total, he will spend 11 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
Justice Department’s Response to Dogfighting:
Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division emphasized the severity of dogfighting, describing it as a barbaric offense that harms animals and endangers communities.
The sentencing reflects a significant punishment for those engaged in such practices.
Endangering Humans and Animals:
U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio highlighted the dual threat posed by Valentine’s crimes, endangering both humans and dogs.
The collaborative efforts of investigative partners resulted in the removal of hundreds of grams of fentanyl from circulation and the rescue of more than 50 dogs.
Animal Welfare Act and Criminal Activity:
Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Springer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG) emphasized the Animal Welfare Act’s role in preventing animals from being used in illegal fighting ventures, often associated with criminal activities like drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.
Investigation Timeline and Seizures:
The investigation into Valentine began in 2019 after a dog attack on a child. A subsequent search warrant led to the seizure of 40 dogs and various dogfighting paraphernalia.
A second search in 2022, as part of a fentanyl-distribution inquiry, uncovered additional dogfighting items, assault-style rifles, and significant drug-related evidence.
Drug Seizures and Additional Charges:
The 2022 search revealed 677 grams of fentanyl, 69 grams of cocaine packaged for distribution, and an additional 11 dogs intended for dogfighting. Valentine had previously sold 141 grams of fentanyl from the property.
Investigative Collaboration and OCDETF Initiative:
The case was investigated by USDA-OIG and the FBI, with assistance from the Gallia County Sherriff’s Office.
The collaborative effort was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) initiative, aimed at identifying and dismantling criminal organizations using a multi-agency approach.
Prosecution Team and Case Details:
Senior Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section, Assistant U.S.
Attorney Nicole Pakiz for the Southern District of Ohio, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Marous for the Southern District of Ohio are prosecuting the case.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn