Senior Pentagon official charged over dogfighting ring
A Pentagon communications official last week was arrested and charged for alleged involvement in a Washington-area dogfighting ring for more than two decades, Maryland authorities revealed Monday.
Frederick Douglass Moorefield Jr., 62, of Arnold, Md., was a deputy chief information officer for command, control and communications at the Defense Department, according to his LinkedIn page. He was arrested Thursday on a charge of “promoting and furthering animal fighting venture,” according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The Washington Post first reported on the arrest.
Moorefield — who was charged along with friend Mario Flythe, 49, of Glen Burnie, Md. — is no longer working at the Pentagon following the charges, defense officials confirmed Tuesday.
“We are aware of the criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman said in a statement to The Hill. “We can confirm that the individual is no longer in the workplace, but we cannot comment further on an individual personnel matter.”
Later Tuesday, DOD deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh would not say if Moorefield had been suspended, fired or allowed to retire due to the charges against him, referring reporters to the Justice Department.
She would also not reveal what level of security clearance Moorefield had at the time he was ousted.
“I don’t know the level of clearance that he had. I’m not going to go into more specifics on it. It’s an ongoing case,” she said. “I think these are some things that of course will come out in the investigation. Why or were behaviors caught when it should have been — that’s something that will be revealed, of course, as the Department of Justice leads this investigation.”
According to the affidavit, Moorfield and Flythe used encrypted messages on Telegram to discuss dogfighting with individuals throughout the United States. Moorefield used the name “Geehad Kennels” while Flythe used the name “Razor Sharp Kennels” to identify their respective dogfighting operations, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
The two communicated on how to bet on and train dogs for the illegal dogfighting, discussed dogs that had been killed in such events, exchanged videos about the activity, and arranged and coordinated dogfights, the release notes.
They also discussed “how to conceal their conduct from law enforcement,” it adds.
The men were arrested after law enforcement officers searched their residences in Maryland on Sept. 6, when they found twelve dogs, veterinary steroids, training schedules, a carpet apparently stained with blood, and jumper cables which the affidavit alleges can be used to kill dogs that lose fights.
A replacement for Moorefield has not been named, Singh said.