Modern day cattle rustling: Louisiana man arrested & charged with cattle theft
Louisiana man arrested after intense multistate investigation
Thanks to a five-month investigation by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Brand Inspectors, a Louisiana man is behind bars on three felony cattle theft charges out of Texas.
TSCRA Special Rangers Larry Hand and Bo Fox were in Louisiana Tuesday as LDAF brand inspectors arrested Justin Glenn Thompson, 40, of Hineston, Louisiana. Thompson was subsequently booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail where he remains while awaiting extradition to Texas.
Hand was first contacted in February 2019 by a Wood County rancher who alleged that a Louisiana-based cattle feeding operation owed him more than $91,000. By April, LDAF Brand Commission agent Jessie Bellard and manager Scott Perry were fully involved, and the case had grown into an intense, multistate financial crimes investigation.
The victim had both sold and purchased cattle through Thompson in his capacity as an agent for Strain Feeders, of Abita Springs, Louisiana. The investigators soon uncovered evidence that Thompson was using his position at the company to divert cattle and funds for his own benefit. They also believe he falsified information at the company to earn additional compensation.
After months of untangling the details, the case was taken to a Wood County grand jury who Aug. 28, 2019, handed down three indictments against Thompson. Those charges are:
- Theft of cattle less than $150,000, for the theft of 84 head of cattle.
- Theft of cattle less than $150,000, for the theft of 16 head of cattle.
- Theft of property more than $2,500 but less than $30,000, for more than $18,000 in cattle payment shortages.
Warrants were issued Sept. 3, and Thompson was arrested the same day due to concerns that he could pose a flight risk.
According to a news release by LDAF, this is not Thompson’s first brush with the law. At the time of his arrest, he was free on bond in another cattle theft case under investigation by LDAF in Allen Parish. Additional investigations in both Texas and Louisiana are ongoing, and more charges are likely.
“I cannot overstate how important the partnership between TSCRA and LDAF was in this investigation,” said Hand. “If not for their collaboration, we may not have been able to resolve the case and bring Thompson to justice.”
TSCRA would like to especially thank Special Rangers Larry Hand and Bo Fox, LDAF Brand Commission Inspectors Scott Perry and Jessie Bellard, and Wood County district attorney Angela Albers and her staff for their tremendous contributions to the investigation and subsequent indictments.
If convicted, Thompson could face 22 years in prison, up to $30,000 in fines and restitution to the victim.
TSCRA’s Special Rangers are an elite group of law enforcement officers who have extensive knowledge of the cattle industry and primarily investigate cattle theft and other agricultural crimes, though they are well-trained in all facets of law enforcement. In all, TSCRA has 30 Special Rangers stationed throughout Texas and Oklahoma who are commissioned through the Texas Department of Public Safety or Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The Special Rangers also oversee more than 80 TSCRA market inspectors who collect data, such as brands and other identifying marks on 4 to 5 million cattle sold at 100 Texas livestock markets each year. That information is entered into the TSCRA’s recording and retrieval system, which is a vital tool for law enforcement when investigating theft cases.