Defense Department official charged with promoting, facilitating dog fighting ring

Two Maryland men, including a Department of Defense deputy chief, were charged with facilitating a dog fighting ring, according to the Department of Justice.

Department of Defense deputy chief information officer Frederick Douglass Moorefield, Jr., 62, of Arnold, Maryland, and Mario Damon Flythe, 49, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, were charged with promoting and facilitating animal fighting ventures, according to a federal complaint filed Sept. 23.

The defendants appeared in court on Sept. 28 and were released pending trial under the supervision of the U.S. Pretrial Services, according to department officials.

Moorefield and Flythe used an encrypted messaging application to talk with other people across the country about dogfighting, department officials said. Moorefield used the name "Geehad Kennels" and Flythe used "Razor Sharp Kennels" to identify their respective dogfighting operations.

Justice Department officials said the two men and their associates discussed how to train dogs for fighting, sent each other videos about dogfighting, and arranged and coordinated illegal matches. Moorefield and Flythe also talked about betting on dogfights, discussed the dogs that had died as a result of the matches, and sent news articles about dogfighters caught by law enforcement, according to the complaint.

Twelve dogs seized

As further alleged in the affidavit, Moorefield and others also discussed about concealing their actions from authorities.

On Sept. 6, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at Moorefield and Flythe’s residences in Maryland where twelve dogs were recovered and seized by the federal government, according to the news release.

Federal officials found veterinary steroids and a device with an electric plug, which the affidavit claims is "consistent with devices used to execute dogs that lose dogfights." Other items found included training schedules, what seemed to be a blood-stained carpet, and a weighted dog vest with a patch reading “Geehad Kennels.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department was "aware of the criminal complaint" against Moorefield.

"We can confirm that the individual is no longer in the workplace," Gorman said, the Post reported. He did not confirm if Moorefileld had been suspended, terminated, or allowed to retire.

If convicted, Moorefield and Flythe each face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for possessing, training, or transporting animals for participation in animal fighting.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pentagon official charged with participating in dog fighting ring