Press Release Logo

DATE/TIME: September 5, 2018/10:43 A.M.

INCIDENT: California Penal Code 597a, Cruelty to Animals, Penal Code 30605, Illegal Assault Weapon

LOCATION: 10500 Block of Orchard Street, Bloomington

SUSPECT(S): Rene Montez, 39-year-old Hispanic Male

SUMMARY: Detectives and deputies from the Victor Valley Station and the Rural Crime Task Force served a search warrant at the Orchard Street address for evidence of a fighting game bird operation. The Rural Crime Force worked with investigators from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the bird owner bringing more birds on the property after they seized birds in June due to an outbreak of Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND). VND is a highly contagious and deadly virus in birds. The disease is spread by direct contact between birds, by coughing and sneezing, and through droppings. People can spread VND by moving infected birds, moving equipment and feed, and by wearing clothing and shoes that have been in infected areas.

Newcastle Disease has been found in Southern California, and Bloomington is under a Newcastle quarantine due to many infected birds. Once the property is depopulated of birds, the property must stay depopulated (fallow) for 120 days to kill the disease. Montez brought more birds onto the property during the fallow period, thus infecting the new birds, and potentially spreading Newcastle throughout the area. In all, 70 birds were seized. The birds were mostly roosters housed separately, consistent with fighting bird operations. Evidence of gamebird fighting implements, fighting bird supplements and medications were also seized.

Also seized in Montez’ room was an illegal AR15 style pistol with no manufacturer or serial number.

Montez was booked at West Valley Detention Center and is awaiting arraignment on September 7, 2018. Bail was set at $50,000.00.

Refer: Rob Oakleaf/Randy Stanley, Sheriff’s Rural Crime Task Force

Station: Victor Valley Station

Phone No. (760) 552-6845

Case No. 031802461

JOHN McMAHON, Sheriff-Coroner
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department