United States Attorney Michael J. Moore announced today that Raymond Lee Hendrix a/k/a “Georgia Lee” and “Lee”, of Echols County, Georgia; and Willie Henderson, of Lowndes County, Georgia, entered guilty pleas to a number of charges in United States District Court in Valdosta. The pleas were entered on June 25, 2015 before the Honorable Hugh Lawson, Senior District Court Judge.
Mr. Hendrix pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor and exhibit a dog in an animal fighting venture. He faces a maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000.00, or both.
Mr. Henderson entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor and exhibit a dog in an animal fighting venture and to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His plea will subject him to a maximum sentence of five (5) years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000.00, or both on the dog fighting charge and a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years, a $250,000.00 fine, or both on the firearms charge.
In their plea agreements, Mr. Hendrix and Mr. Henderson admitted that between January 2008 and August 2013, they operated Clyattville Kennels, maintaining and training American Pit Bull Terriers for other dog fighters in exchange for a “tipping fee”, breeding and registering American Pit Bull Terriers and participating in organized dog fight gambling events throughout the Southeast. In addition, Mr. Henderson admitted to possessing a rifle and shotgun, after having been convicted of a felony. A copy of each plea agreement is attached.
Sheriff Randy Courson with the Echols County Sheriff’s Office stated, “This case has been years in the making with a lot of hard work and many man hours of agencies working together to eliminate the cruel and inhumane treatment of these animals for profit.”
The case resulted from an inter-agency investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Agriculture – Office of Inspector General, Echols County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, Auburn (Alabama) Police Department, Bainbridge (Georgia) Department of Public Safety, Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Lee County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office along with assistance from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Assistant United States Attorney Julia C. Bowen is prosecuting the case for the government.
The Court set sentencing for Mr. Hendrix and Mr. Henderson for September 23, 2015 at 9:30 am in Valdosta.
Inquiries regarding this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2603.