A Mineral County, West Virginia, man pleaded guilty in Martinsburg federal court on Tuesday to three felonies, including cocaine trafficking and animal abuse charges connected to dog fighting. Police say they found substantial evidence that a dog-fighting operation is being run from his house.
Officers went to Timothy Paul Stewart’s Piedmont home in October to serve a federal drug trafficking indictment and saw seven firearms in plain view. Police then obtained a federal search warrant and returned to the home, where they found guns, ammunition and 25 grams of cocaine. Officers also found and seized $3,968 in U.S. currency.
When officers entered the basement at Stewart’s home, they discovered evidence of animal fighting including pit bulls, dog carcasses and pelts, cages and training equipment.
Stewart, 34, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of dogs with the intent for fighting in federal court in Martinsburg before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Seibert, according to U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II, the Times-News reports. As part of his plea, court officials say Stewart must forfeit the firearms and cash.
Police say Stewart is in custody pending his sentencing. He faces up to 45 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Potomac Highlands Drug and Violent Crime task Force, consisting of officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the West Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
Up to a $5,000 reward is offered by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person involved in illegal animal fighting. Call 877-TIP-HSUS (877-847-4787). Callers’ identities are protected.