When one things of cattle rustling, images of the old west come to mind, but it’s happening in Oklahoma even today.
As National Geographic reports, roughly one percent of the Sooner State’s millions of head of cattle – worth from $1,200 to $1,500 per head - are stolen every year, mostly by drug addicts who take them to legal markets to sell them.
The only thing needed to steal cattle is a truck and a trailer in an area where there is easy access to get on and off of a property.
Jerry Flowers is the chief of an elite law enforcement unit of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture who along with his nine-member team investigates reported cattle rustling like any other crime scene – collecting evidence like tire tracks and cigarette butts. The unit has helped recover thousands of stolen cattle per year, worth $4 to $5 million.
If caught, thieves face up to 10 years in prison and in some cases, must pay up to three times the value of the loss the owner sustained.
Flowers said drugs – particularly methamphetamine – are driving the surge in cattle theft