Officials with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office report the arrest of an Altha man for his alleged involvement with prohibited cage fights that took place south of Graceville.
According to a statement issued by JCSO this week, deputies arrested Jose Luis Jorge, 35, on Tuesday, Dec. 17, “in connection to a series of unsanctioned caged fighting events that he did host, organize, plan, advertise, sponsor and/or promote in Jackson County.”
JCSO investigators reportedly learned on Nov. 18 of an event held by Jorge on property at the intersection of State Road 77 and Lovewood Road, near the Washington County line.
Evidence, including lineups for the fight, was gathered from social media sites and a cage made of “what appeared to be dog kennel panels” was seen on the property, as was “other boxing type paraphernalia behind chained and locked gates,” authorities said.
The event, officials said, violated Jackson County Code of Ordinance Section 74-522, which requires sponsors be insured and meet health and safety standards.
Investigators said they learned this month that Jorge was anticipating another fighting event to take place Dec. 28. To ensure the event was deterred, officials said, JCSO investigators worked with the Jackson County Code Enforcement Division, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Office of the State Attorney, and the Florida Boxing Commission.
Jorge was arrested and charged with violating Florida Statutes Chapter 548, which regulates pugilistic exhibitions.
Unsanctioned fights like the ones Jorge is alleged to have been involved with, according to JCSO officials, “have the potential to be a breeding ground for a multitude of illicit criminal activities to include but not limited to drug sales/use, prostitution, murder, illegal gambling, and underage drinking.”
Officials said 12 of 13 fighters scheduled to participate in the two events have been identified and will be prosecuted under the above-mentioned statute. They and Jorge also face fines and fees from the county and FBC.