WILMINGTON — A 33-year-old Houston man was sentenced to 88 months in prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to drug and dog fighting-related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Delaware said.
Dawan Nelson pleaded guilty to possessing 33 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and dog fighting, said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III.
U.S. District Court Judge Sue L. Robinson issued the sentence.
According to officials citing statements made at the sentencing hearing and documents filed in court, Delaware State Police and Delaware Animal Care and Control officers searched Nelson’s home in Houston, on Jan. 8, 2013, and found 33 kilograms of cocaine, two loaded semi-automatic pistols, and 67 American terrier pit bulls.
Many of the pit bulls bore scars from dog fighting, officials said. During the search, officers also found disposable skin staplers, a gallon bottle of iodine, weighted collars, weighted sleds, breaking sticks and spring poles.
The investigation showed that dogs that lost matches sometimes were disposed of by being shot or suffocated.
Following the sentencing, Mr. Oberly stated, “Depravity associated with dog-fighting, including the torture and execution of dogs, deserves punishment associated with such cruelty.”
State officials applauded the sentencing as well.
“This successful prosecution at the federal level sends a message that dog fighting is illegal and will not be tolerated in Delaware,” said Capt. Sherri Warburton of Delaware Animal Care and Control.
The case was investigated by the Delaware State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Delaware Animal Care and Control, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Falgowski.