SAN ANGELO, TX - Today, Kenny Wadsworth, Special Ranger for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), said recent Precinct 2 Constable candidate Dusty Thompson was arrested on a third degree felony charge for theft of livestock < $150,000, which occurred on Oct. 6, 2016.
Jail records showed a date of Oct. 1, but it took place on Oct. 6, 2016, Ranger Wadsworth confirmed.
On Oct. 28, 2016, Thompson was booked into the Tom Green County Jail at 11:41 a.m. for the offense (see original story here).
Thompson was released Oct. 29 from the TGCJ on a $10,000 surety bond.
Wadsworth said Thompson took three black cows that went onto Thompson's property, about 8 miles south of San Angelo.
"Pretty much the cattle got out, wandered on his land, and he kept them," said Wadsworth. "Those cattle were branded, and if they were not branded, we probably wouldn't have a case. That's why it's very important to brand your cattle."
Branding the cattle and registering the animals in the county where they're kept is very important in the livestock business, said Wadsworth. Because the owner of the cattle did so, this is how an arrest was made in this case.
Wadsworth said Thompson's case will go to a grand jury, and the TSCRA "will go from there."
If indicted on this charge, Wadsworth said Thompson faces 2 to 10 years behind bars.
According to the arrest affidavit filed by the TSCRA, Special Ranger Wadsworth explained 41-year-old Thompson engaged in illegal theft of the cattle from Oct. 1, 2016 through Oct. 27, 2016, which was the day before he was arrested.
On Oct. 25, TSCRA Special Ranger Wadsworth was contacted by Special Ranger Joe Roberts who stated he had received information from a confidential informant that Thompson had moved three black cows on to a pasture adjoining their place.The informant stated the cattle didn't belong to Thompson, and he had the cattle at his residence for over two weeks prior to moving them to his other place on US 277 South, which is the area of his business, Southern Industrial.
"[The] informant stated the cattle were branded with a "7" on the left hip, and had pink ear tags in the left ear," read the affidavit.
The informant then sent pictures of the cattle to Wadsworth via text showing the brands and ear tags.
The investigation uncovered that this was the case.
The victim/informant, who Wadsworth asked that we not publicly name for safety reasons, said he runs cattle on his leased ranch and all of them are branded. At the beginning of October, the informant had repaired the fence running along his property, but was not aware of any cattle getting out, nor was he notified of law enforcement of any cattle being loose.
As previously stated, Wadsworth met with the informant on Oct. 2, and learned that three black cows had traveled onto Thompson's property. At that point, Thompson penned the cattle behind his house, and kept them there for about two weeks.
"[The] informant stated they were approached by Thompson, who asked them to assist him with butchering the cattle," said the affidavit. "[The] informant stated Thompson also asked another neighbor for help butchering the cattle."
On Oct. 6, Wadsworth said he was on his way to work when another informant called him to report that Thompson called and told him he had a black cow standing at his garage entrance. As he was driving by Thompson's place, he noticed two other black cows standing and laying in his yard with Dusty standing by his garage. The informant told Dusty to call the Sheriff's office and report them because someone would be looking for the cows.
Once at work, however, the informant said he received a request not to say anything about the cows "because they look yummy." Later, Thompson told the individual he was going to "pin them up and began feeding them to butcher."
On his way home, the informant saw Thompson had his cattle panels set up behind his shop with the three cows. After that, the informant said he started distancing himself from Thompson.
A few day later, Thompson said he was looking at videos on YouTube to observe how to butcher a cow, and asked for assistance, but the informant told Thompson what he suggested "would be criminal."
Thompson then called later once more and asked to borrow a horse trailer, so he could move the cows from his property to the business on U.S. 277.
On Oct. 27, another individual stated he was contacted by Thompson the previous week to see if he could haul cattle for him. The individual said he did haul the cattle on Sunday, Oct. 23, from Thompson's residence to his property on US 277.
This is not the first time Thompson has been accused of stealing livestock. In November 2007, he was arrested for Taking Wildlife without Consent of Landowner, which was a state jail felony. In the complaint attached to that indictment, Thompson was alleged to have entered and retrieved a white tail buck deer inside the XQZ Ranch, located 6.5 miles east of Knickerbocker without the consent of the land owner. That case was dismissed in 2011.