By Cindy Roller
Over the past two months, a puzzling series of cattle thefts had been reported in Delta County.
The Delta County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s Special Ranger Tony Hurley have been investigating the thefts. As a result of their investigation, officers have arrested John Green of Klondike and Jonathan Jones of Cooper.
Green was arrested in Fannin County while he was in the process of stealing another load of cattle, officials said.
Both Jones and Green were arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. Four other accomplices have been identified in the cattle thefts, officials said.
The investigation was led by Tony Hurley and Troy McKinney of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. They were assisted by several Delta County, Hopkins County and Fannin County law enforcement officers.
In total, there were five confirmed cattle thefts in Delta County and two confirmed cattle thefts in Fannin County, officials said. Reports suggest that as many as 36 head of cattle were stolen in the crimes, they said.
Charges are being filed on another Delta County resident in one of the Fannin County cattle thefts and on two Kaufman County residents who are suspected in some of the Delta County thefts, officials said.
“They were stealing various breeds, mainly adult cows, however only two went through sale barn,” Delta County Sheriff Rickey Smith said. “They seem to be targeting areas of the county where there were absentee landowners. They would enter through the gates or fences and often cut the locks. We are still in process of returning cattle to the owners.”
Of the 36 cattle reported stolen 29 have been found and returned to the owners and three more have been located and will be returned to their owner, officials said.
The Delta and Fannin County thefts have not been connected to the earlier Hopkins County cattle thefts, however, the investigation of a connection between the two crimes will continue, officials said.