A senior Pentagon official is one of two Maryland men arrested and charged last month with participating in an organized illegal dogfighting ring.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced its unsealed case against Frederick Douglass Moorefield Jr., 62, and Mario Damon Flythe, 49. Law enforcement officers executed search warrants at Mr. Moorefield’s and Mr. Flythe’s Maryland residences on Sept. 6, and the two made their initial court appearances on Sept. 28.
The federal prosecutor’s office identified Mr. Moorefield as a deputy chief information officer for command, control, and communications (C3) at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. According to his Department of Defense employee biography, Mr. Moorefield’s work at the Pentagon entailed providing technical expertise and guidance on defense-wide C3 programs and ways to “maintain information dominance for the Department of Defense.”
The federal prosecutors allege that Mr. Moorefield and Mr. Flythe ran their own respective illegal dogfighting operations, but used the encrypted messaging application Telegram to discuss training regimens for dogfighting and share videos pertaining to these fights, while also using the application to arrange and coordinate such fights. Furthermore, the pair allegedly discussed betting on these fights, dogs that had died as a result of such fighting, and media reports of other dogfighting operations that had been uncovered by law enforcement.
Mr. Moorefield allegedly referred to his dogfighting operation as “Geehad Kennels,” while Mr. Flythe called his operation “Razor Sharp Kennels.”
According to the criminal complaint (pdf), prosecutors in Virginia’s Eastern federal court district first became aware of dogfighting rings that communicated on Telegram after indicting six men involved in similar animal-fighting operations. Those six men all entered guilty pleas, and told prosecutors about their dogfighting Telegram channel, which they dubbed the “the DMV Board” or “the Board.” It was through these leads that prosecutors were able to determine a connection to Mr. Moorefield, with the term “Geehad” listed on a June 2020 dogfighting schedule circulated by “the DMV Board.”
Prosecutors also described a November 2018 incident in which Anne Arundel County Animal Control was alerted to a plastic dog-food bag that was found containing the bodies of two dead dogs. The bag also contained mail addressed to Mr. Moorefield. Investigators called on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to perform an autopsy on the two deceased dogs and, although they could not definitively determine the cause of their deaths, ASPCA investigators identified both recent and healed scars on both dogs consistent with dogfights. Prosecutors believe the two dogs were either killed during the course of their respective fights or were put down after performing poorly.
When law enforcement officers executed their search warrant on Mr. Moorefield’s home, they reported recovering veterinary medical supplies, a training schedule, a weighted vest that would fit a dog’s body, and a device consisting of car jumper cables connected to an electrical plug. Prosecutors believe the electrical device could be used to electrocute a losing dog. Officers also found a rolled-up rug covered in dark, reddish-brown stains that prosecutors believe were derived from bloodstains from multiple fights.
Authorities recovered five “pit bull-type” dogs from Mr. Moorefield’s residence. Authorities recovered another seven “pit bull-type” dogs from Mr. Flythe’s residence.
Mr. Moorefield and Mr. Flythe each face four charges:
- Buying, selling, delivering, possessing, training, or transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture;
- Use of postal service or other interstate instrumentality for promoting or furthering an animal fighting venture;
- Conspiracy to sponsor or exhibit an animal in an animal fighting venture; and
- Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.
NTD News was unable to seek comment from the two defendants through legal counsel, as attorneys were not listed for either Mr. Moorefield or Mr. Flythe as of Oct. 3.
In response to a request for comment about Mr. Moorefield, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman replied, “We are aware of the criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. We can confirm that the individual is no longer in the workplace, but we cannot comment further on an individual personnel matter.”