JOHNSTOWN - One of four Bleecker men arrested last fall on animal, drug and weapons charges after being accused of running the largest rooster-fighting operation of its kind in this part of the state was sentenced Friday in Fulton County Court.
Wayne A. Harvey Jr., 42, of 1284 County Highway 125, was sentenced by Judge Richard C. Giardino to four months of weekends in the county jail. He also received five years probation as part of a plea arrangement.
He pleaded guilty Feb. 23 before Giardino to one count of permitting animal fighting and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He originally was charged with breeding or selling an animal to fight - a felony - unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a weapon by a felon.
Harvey was one of four people arrested Sept. 29 by state police in connection with the cockfighting ring. His case was the first to be disposed of in county court. The four men arrested represent three generations of the same family. But only two codefendants remain because his father - Wayne D. Harvey Sr., formerly of 1286 County Highway 125 - died Feb. 7.
Wayne D. Harvey Sr. was charged with breeding or selling an animal to fight and first-degree criminal possession of 10 pounds of marijuana, both felonies, unlawfully growing cannabis and misdemeanor criminal possession of a firearm.
The remaining two codefendants, whose cases haven't been disposed of, also are family members.
Wayne J. Harvey III, 19, of 1284 County Highway 125, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having brass knuckles. He is the son of Wayne A. Harvey Jr.
Arthur J. Harvey, 66, of 1286 County Highway 125, faces charges of unlawful possession of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He is the brother of Wayne D. Harvey Sr.
At the time of their arrests in September 2011, state police Lt. Steven James called the case "the most significant investigation of this kind [in this area] relative to the fighting of birds." He said illegal gambling was only part of the cockfighting operation. State police also said the family was growing and packaging marijuana for sale and was in possession of several weapons, including guns illegally owned by felons.
Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said the raid at the family's three-residence "compound" on County Highway 125, involving a dozen officers, was dubbed "Operation Swoop the Coop."
Authorities seized dozens of gaming birds, which were safe and later housed at a humane shelter, as well as guns and drugs.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com