DELHI, Calif. - What started as a drug bust ended with Merced County Sheriff's deputies discovering more than 100 roosters being raised for illegal cockfighting.
Deputies had been surveying a home off Sycamore Street in Delhi for weeks. When they went inside, they found hundreds of marijuana plants being grown inside the house.
"He estimated 1.5 million dollars worth of product, which is very substantial," Sheriff Vern Warnke said.
Deputies then found more than 100 roosters they believe were being raised for cockfighting based on their breed, however, deputies say the birds weren't taken from the property.
"If there was any possibility that they were going to be harmed or not fed or watered, they would have been confiscated on the spot or euthanized on the spot. Neither happened at the time. They were being cared for," Warnke said.
The plants, however, were put in a truck and hauled away from the property. Warnke says he's cracking down on people trying to grow more than the six marijuana plant limit that the county allows.
The sheriff says code enforcement is putting together an opportunity for the landowner to either disperse the birds or agree to surrender them to the county which would mean that they'd be euthanized.