EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains a link to a social media post that contains graphic images.

MARLBORO COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Four people are facing charges after Marlboro County deputies broke up an alleged cockfighting ring on Sunday.

Artemus Butler, David Williams, Jimmie Clark and Kenneth Bartlett were arrested after deputies searched a piece of property in the 3100 block of Griggs Circle in Wallace, the Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office said. Warrants have been prepared for several other people who were at the event.

In a Facebook post, Sheriff Larry McNeil’s office said the investigation came after his office got numerous complaints over several months about the sale of illegal drugs and possible cockfighting in the area of Griggs Circle and Grants Mill Road.

While searching the property, deputies found 13 dead and mutilated roosters along with 20 live ones, the sheriff’s office said. The search also turned up handguns, marijuana and other drug paraphernalia.

Necropsies will be conducted on the dead roosters, the sheriff’s office said. The live roosters were seized by the Marlboro County Humane Society and county code-enforcement officials to “be harbored and safeguarded during and following the trial process.”

McNeil has pledged to take animal crimes seriously, the Facebook post said.

“Aside from animals being a vulnerable aspect of our society, ‘the link’ between animal abuse and violent crimes, including drugs, guns and domestic violence, has long been intertwined,” he said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact sheriff’s office investigator Antonio Alford at 843-479-5605. Several additional warrants have been prepared for individuals in attendance at the event.

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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.