Dogfighting conspiracy ends with 2 men pleading guilty

Two local men could be facing years behind bars for their roles in a dogfighting conspiracy that took place across the D.C. region.

Derek Garcia, 41, and Ricardo Thorne, 52, have pleaded guilty for their roles in advertising dog fights online and conspiring to engage in the illegal, inhumane act.



According to court documents, between May 2015 and August 2020, the men used a messaging app to create a private group called “The DMV Board” with others to discuss how to train fighting dogs, organize fights and avoid law enforcement.

Garcia was also found to have sold a fighting dog for $1,700 through the private group chat.

Thorne discussed using a warehouse off Kenilworth Avenue in D.C. for years to set up fights and charge admission. He also bragged about a dog that killed six others and posted to the DMV Board that he had won as much as $15,000 in one fight. He also shared that his “Darkside Kennels” had been around for over 20 years.

“On July 30, 2019, Thorne possessed at his residence dogfighting paraphernalia and nine pitbull-type dogs, many with scarring patterns and lacerations consistent with dogfighting,” prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday.

Both men will be sentenced next March and face up to five years in prison.

Four others involved in the conspiracy have also been indicted.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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