Authorities think they've broken up a multi state drug trafficking ring. And in the process, they may have shut down a rather elaborate dog fighting operation. Tuesday morning, federal agents arrested Maxwell Landry. Landry lives at 14310 Vidalia Road in northwest Harrison County. He was one of 14 people named in a federal drug trafficking indictment.
The Harrison County drug suspect may also be linked to a dog fighting ring.
Behind a shabbily built wooden fence on Vidalia Road is what authorities call a large dog fighting training compound, and nearly 45 scarred and abused pit bulls. Kathryn Destreza and other members of the Louisiana SPCA came to Harrison County to help take care of the dogs.
"They're machines made for one thing, and that's dog fighting," she said.
Investigators initially had no idea the dogs, or the training compound were on Maxwell Landry's property. According to Harrison County Sheriff George Payne, authorities were at the property to arrest "a major drug trafficker."
Landry once lived in Chalmette, Louisiana. But after the hurricane, he moved to this spacious property on Vidalia Road. From his property about eight miles north of I-10, authorities said they had proof Landry illegally transported drug between the two states.
"We made a dent not only in the drug trafficking here, but in the cruelty to these animals and the illegal dog fighting that's taking place in Louisiana. And the horrible condition that these animals have to live in," the sheriff said.
It was only after the DEA did aerial surveillance on the drug trafficking suspect's property in northwest Harrison County that federal agents discovered the dogs and the training compound, and contacted the humane society.
Tara High heads up the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
"To me, it's such a tragedy, because these animals are very friendly to people," she said, while taking a break from looking over the dogs.
So many dogs were chained inside the compound, Harrison County called the Louisiana SPCA to help document, and haul away animals that were reportedly trained to maul each other. "It's sad really," said Destreza.
Authorities found drugs, and a cattle prod inside the training compound. They believe both were used while the dogs were taught how to fight. They say they'll use that evidence to prove Maxwell staged illegal dog fights on his Harrison County property.
"It's organized animal cruelty if you ask me," the sheriff said. "They're fixing to go to jail."