Georgia woman pleads guilty to dogfighting in federal court

A Macon woman pleaded guilty to charges tied to a multi-state dogfighting operation, federal authorities announced Thursday.

Credit: File Photo

Combined ShapeCaption
A Macon woman pleaded guilty to charges tied to a multi-state dogfighting operation, federal authorities announced Thursday.

Credit: File Photo

Another Georgia resident has pleaded guilty to participating in a dogfighting ring that crossed several state lines, officials said Thursday.

Shelley “Gold Mouth” Johnson, 40, was the 12th member of the criminal organization convicted of drug and animal abuse charges, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. The Macon woman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine followed by three years of supervised release.

Johnson will be sentenced June 7, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

Two other members of the drug and dogfighting ring were sentenced to prison Feb. 1. Jarvis Lockett, 41, of Warner Robins, got 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Christopher Raines, Lockett’s 51-year-old co-defendant from Talbotton, was sentenced to 11 years in a federal lockup and five years of supervision to go along with a $10,000 fine.

According to court documents, the criminal enterprise based in Roberta included a cocaine distribution network and an organized dogfighting gambling operation. Peach County investigators seized 168 pit bulls while executing search warrants in 2020, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The crime syndicate’s tentacles extended to North Georgia, Florida and Alabama, law enforcement officials said.

ExploreGeorgia men sentenced to prison for dogfighting, drug distribution

Johnson’s conviction stems from illegal actions that occurred between May 2019 and February 2020, Thursday’s news release said. Johnson talked to Lockett about breeding dogs, sharpening their teeth, cash prizes, dogs getting mauled and killed from fighting, and other details of the business.

Investigators said she participated in at least one dogfight as a handler and authorities rescued 13 pit bulls from her home with fight wounds.

Officers also found items in Johnson’s home used for dogfighting, such as weighted collars, ground stakes and medical supplies commonly used to treat dogs for injuries they suffer during fights, the release said.