FILLMORE (  —  Acting on an anonymous tip Saturday, Sheriff’s Deputies in the Fillmore station busted an illegal cockfighting operation before any roosters sustained injury.

The tipster said cockfighting was to begin in the fields near the 3000 block of East Telegraph Road in Fillmore Saturday morning around 7.

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Deputies located the operation on the property bordering the Santa Clara River bottom south of East Telegraph Road.

When deputies arrived, they said “multiple subjects fled” many of them running into dense brush near the river bottom.

Authorities did catch four suspects who were questioned and ultimately arrested for their involvement.

The arrested were identified as 32-year-old Fermin Navarro of Sylmar, 54-year-old Abraham Figueroa of Piru, 28-year-old Rodrigo Suarez-Guzman of Ojai and 34-year-old Lucio Vasquez-Sanchez, also of Ojai.

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Nearly 40 roosters were located in small cages and confiscated.

Deputies said many of the birds were found with small, sharp knives attached to their legs.

Over $1,000, which was being used for illegal wagering, was also seized as evidence.

Ventura Animal Services responded and took possession of the birds.

The Ventura Sheriff’s Office wants to thank the public for the tip as the birds were confiscated before any fighting occurred.

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Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).