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Cockfighting pit at center of federal investigation for sale

Last updated: 8:43 PM, 04/07/2008

NEWPORT (AP)-The cockfighting pit at the heart of a six-year federal investigation into organized crime and public corrpution in Cocke County is for sale.

The Del Rio Cockfighting Pit, which operated for more than 40 years despite criminal laws banning the activity, was put up for auction Tuesday on the internet auction site

The 25-acre property requires a $51,000 minimum bid. The auction is scheduled to wrap up Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Del Rio Cockfighting Pit owners Donald H. Poteat, 50, and Michael G. Maynard, 42, pleaded guilty in January in federal court to felony gambling and sponsoring or exhibiting animals in an animal-fighting venture, a misdemeanor. They could face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Their sentencing was set for May.

Poteat's wife, Donna W. Poteat, 41, pleaded guilty to an animal-fighting venture charge, which has a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

State and federal authorities investigated the pit as part of the "Rose Thorn" probe that began in 2001.

The probe has uncovered drug trafficking, automobile chop shops, prostitution, public corruption, extortion and illegal gambling operations built around both cockfighting and video poker machines, authorities say. ---

On the Net: Del Rio Cockfighting Pit auction:

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