Two suspects were arrested and jailed in Dewitt County Saturday after they were charged with stealing cattle from the Cuero Livestock Commission and a Yoakum rancher. TSCRA Special Rangers Gary Baros and Jimmy Belt led the investigation.
Kimberly Villarreal, 23, of Victoria was charged with 1 count of felony livestock theft. Maurice Mathis Jr., 25, also of Victoria, was charged with 2 counts of felony livestock theft from DeWitt and Lavaca counties.
According to Baros, the suspects allegedly stole 7 head of cattle worth $8,000 from a rancher in Yoakum, Texas, and 7 head of cattle from the Cuero auction market. They sold all but 1 of the animals at the Navasota and Livingston auction markets, but were tracked down by authorities before receiving payment.
The stolen cattle were returned back to the victims, including the final cow which was located on Mathis’ property and returned back to the Cuero auction market.
The suspects were arrested in Polk County, and then transferred to DeWitt County. Villarreal was released on a $20,000 bond. Mathis is still in the DeWitt County jail on bond of $20,000. Mathis has also been charged in Lavaca County, and that bond has been set at $80,000.
Baros says that authorities are still investigating these crimes and that more theft charges could be handed down in the coming weeks.
TSCRA has 30 special rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. All are commissioned as Special Rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.