Fresno County sheriff’s officials acting on several tips Wednesday tracked down 18-year-old Gabriel Quintero of Riverdale. Also taken into custody were two 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old.
All have been booked on charges of burglary and felony cruelty to animals.
Fresno Sheriff’s Department spokesman Christian Curtice said he cannot release information about what prompted the killing of the chickens. He didn’t anticipate any more arrests and said he did not know if the suspects had attorneys.
Investigators say the suspects pulled back a fence on Sept. 20 to break into a barn south of Fresno. Once inside they beat 920 chickens to death with a golf club and possibly another blunt instrument, investigators said.
The suspects were caught by detectives from a special Fresno-based agriculture task force, a sheriff’s unit established to investigate farming-related crimes in the nation’s leading agra-business county, with $5 billion in annual revenues.
Not all the chickens at the facility were killed, said Foster Farms spokesman Ira Brill, noting the barns typically have several thousand chickens inside.