Chisago County authorities say they broke up a cockfighting ring Thursday night and have charged a man who led a sheriff's deputy on a 100-mile-per-hour pursuit after leaving the scene.
Tou Houa Yang, 39, of Maplewood, was one of about 10 people deputies saw standing around a ring with chickens fighting inside a garage in Sunrise Township.
As deputies waited outside to prevent participants from fleeing, Yang exited out a back door, jumped in a vehicle and took off, according to charges filed Friday in Chisago County District Court.
Speeds reached more than 100 mph as Yang drove nearly 5 miles to North Branch, where a deputy stopped him and took him to jail, the charges said. Yang was charged with felonies for fleeing police and cruelty to animals, engaging and promoting animal fighting. He is being held in the Chisago County jail. A concerned citizen called police about 7:45 p.m. to report unusual behavior at the home in the 11000 block of St. Croix Trail.
Deputies arrived to find a cockfight in progress. When participants realized police were outside, they picked up their chickens, put them in cages and turned off the lights to in an attempt to hide what was occurring inside, the charges said.
That is when Yang tried to make his escape, the charges said. Others at the residence ranging in age from 26 to 47 could also face felony charges of possession of fighting animals, said Sgt. Matthew Beckman.
Cockfighting features roosters that are bred for aggression and placed beak to beak in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. It is illegal in the United States.