Police find dog remains at house
Immigration officials probe status of men accused of dogfighting

SNELLVILLE - Four men charged with dogfighting at a home near Snellville are being investigated by federal immigration authorities.

Efren Reyes, 33, Mauricio Montoya, 27, Jose Hernandez-Chable, 37, and Luis Reyes Esquival, 30, were living in a home at 3362 Southampton Way where authorities believe the men were fighting dogs.

Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a hold on the four men who claim Mexico as their native country.

The four men are being held at the Gwinnett County Jail on dogfighting charges and while ICE authorities investigate the men's status in the United States.

An ICE spokesman did not return the Post's phone calls Monday.

The four were taken into custody Friday by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department shortly after 1 a.m. and charged with criminal attempt to commit dogfighting. Bourbonnais said deputies found dogs and puppies with scars symbolic of fighting, as well as dogfighting books and drugs inside the home.

"Ten dogs, including three puppies, and 14 chickens were seized from the home this morning," Bourbonnais said Friday.

Authorities said Monday the remains of several dogs were found buried on the property.

"We did recover the remains of three dogs at the scene on Friday and the forensic vet will be trying to determine if they died from injuries related to dogfighting," Bourbonnais said.

An investigation to stop dogfighting in Gwinnett is what Bourbonnais said lead authorities to the home Friday. The dogfighting task force, a group made up of Gwinnett sheriff's, police and animal control officers, led the investigation, according to Bourbonnais.

"Dogs were found in cages and chained in the backyard," Bourbonnais said. "Some of them had scars and appeared to be malnourished."

Bourbonnais said one of the puppies had some scaring on its face and an injured eye - signs that the dog could have been involved in fights. She said all the dogs seized from the home appeared to be pit bulls or pit bull mixed breeds.

A building that stands behind the home, authorities said, may be the place where the men fought the dogs.

Bourbonnais said whether or not the chickens were involved in fighting, would not be known until they were examined by a veterinarian.

As of Monday Reyes and Esquival had additional charges filed against them. Reyes was charged with possession of dangerous drugs and Esquival with violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.

"There still could be additional charges and arrests," Bourbonnais said.

The $10,000 reward Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway said he would be offering from his own pocket for information leading to the arrest and conviction of dogfighting, Bourbonnais said, could be given in relation to Friday's findings.

"The reward money may still come into play and this will come out of his (Conway's) personal funds if it does come into play," Bourbonnais said.