U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Georgia
(478) 752-3511
January 29, 2015

Three Echols County Residents Indicted on Dog Fighting, Firearms, and Narcotics Charges

United States Attorney Michael J. Moore announced today that a federal grand jury returned a multiple count indictment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Valdosta Division, charging Raymond Lee Hendrix (a/k/a “Georgia Lee” and “Lee”), of Echols County, Georgia; Willie Henderson, of Lowndes County, Georgia; and Tara Renee Hunt, of Echols County, Georgia, with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to sponsor and exhibit a dog in an animal fighting venture. If convicted, they could face a sentence of five years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both.

Other charges include:

  • Travel in interstate commerce to sponsor and exhibit a dog in an animal fighting venture (Hendrix and Hunt)—potential sentence of five years’ imprisonment, $250,000, or both;
  • Possessing, training and transporting a dog in an animal fighting venture (Hendrix, Henderson and Hunt)—potential sentence of five years’ imprisonment, $250,00 fine, or both;
  • Buying, selling, delivering, possessing, training, transporting and receiving a dog in an animal fighting venture (Hendrix, Henderson, Hunt)—potential sentence of five years’ imprisonment, $250,00 fine, or both;
  • Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (Hendrix and Henderson)—potential sentence of five years to life in prison consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both;
  • Manufacturing marijuana (Henderson)—potential sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, $1,000,000 fine, or both;
  • Maintaining a drug involved premises (Henderson)—potential sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, $500,000 fine, or both;
  • Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Henderson)—potential sentence of five years to life in prison consecutive to any other term of imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both;
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Henderson)—potential sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both.

Mr. Hendrix appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff on January 15, 2015 in Albany for his initial appearance and arraignment. He was released on a $15,000 unsecured bond.

Ms. Hunt appeared before Judge Langstaff on January 28, 2015 in Albany for her initial appearance and arraignment. She was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Mr. Henderson is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Albany on February 3, 2015 for his initial appearance and arraignment.

A copy of the indictment is attached. An indictment is only an allegation. The accused are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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.

Inquiries regarding this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2603.

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