For Immediate Release: July 11 , 2012
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
HOUSTON – A cattle thief missing since March was located and extradited by U.S. Marshals Tuesday in Mexico. Ronald Shepard, 36, is in federal custody and expected to be arraigned today in Houston.
Shepard was wanted for federal bond default in the Southern District of Illinois after he violated his federally-supervised release on bank fraud charges. He was originally listed as a missing person in March after his vehicle was discovered unattended at an Illinois livestock auction market.
According to the U.S. Marshals Service, during the investigation, the agency became aware of at least 4 states where local agencies, including the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), either had or were in the process of obtaining criminal arrest warrants on Shepard. The warrants stemmed from allegations that Shepard was fraudulently taking proceeds from U.S. cattle sales in excess of $2 million.
In May, Shepard was indicted by a grand jury in Rains County, Texas, on 3 counts of cattle theft after he failed to make prompt payment on cattle purchased from an East Texas auction market. TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand led the Texas investigation. An alert was issued by TSCRA soliciting information on Shepard’s whereabouts.
The U.S. Marshals Service said that TSCRA provided vital information to the agency which assisted in locating Shepard.
“This is a perfect example of federal, state and local authorities working together to bring justice to the victims,” Hand said. “By working together, we’ve sent a clear message that cattle theft will not be tolerated in Texas or anywhere else.”
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.