Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith and more than 50 officers across multiple jurisdictions were relieved one of the largest law enforcement operations in the county’s history is over.

Smith said the raid had the potential to go very badly.

Police uncovered a cockfighting ring in Claudeville, less than a mile from the North Carolina border. Tactical units detained 80 suspects, some while fleeing through the woods.

Authorities also found firearms, cash and methamphetamine – evidence that leads them to believe Mexican drug cartels had a “clear and definite presence.”

Though 80 were arrested, there were approximately 100 to 110 people at the property in total, according to Smith. He said the others fled, likely towards the North Carolina border.