Four men, including one from Fort Wayne, have been convicted in New Jersey for their roles in an illegal, multistate dog fighting operation.
A jury deliberated about six hours on Tuesday following a three-week trial before convicting Justin Love of Sewell, New Jersey; Robert Elliott of Millville, New Jersey; Dajwan Ware of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Robert Arellano of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
According to the Department of Justice, from October of 2015 to June of 2016, the four along with others took part in dog fighting matches where dogs, typically of the pit bull variety, mauled and attacked each other until one or sometimes until both died. These dog-fighting matches took place in several states.
The defendants were convicted on multiple counts including unlawfully possessing and trafficking in fighting dogs. Each count carries a prison term of up to five years.
Their sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.
The trial closes an investigation dubbed Operation Grand Champion that resulted in five other guilty pleas. The U.S. attorney’s office says the investigation has led to the rescue of more than 120 dogs.