The discovery of stolen equipment at a private home near Winnsboro has led to a local family being charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Jason Shane Anders, 38, surrendered to authorities week before last, and was booked on a count of engaging in organized criminal activity and a count of felony livestock theft. He was released the same day on a $40,000 bond. His son Dylan Anders also turned himself in and was charged with one count of engaging in organized criminal activity. Charges are pending against a third suspect.

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Larry Hand fingers Jason Anders as prime suspect in an ongoing case of 17 heifers rustled from a Wood County ranch in March. The TSCRA issued a crime watch alert, hoping to receive input from the public on the theft, and on May 10 authorities interviewed Anders. They discovered stolen property at his residence, including ear tags from the missing cattle. Hand managed to locate two of the missing heifers by identifying their brands. He reports that a plague of rustling has had area ranchers on alert.

“We are investigating other cattle thefts in the area to determine if Anders is possibly involved,” he said. “I encourage ranchers to brand their cattle because, as seen here, the best way to track and identify stolen cattle is with a brand.”

The TSCRA, Wood County Sheriff’s Office and the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force are cooperating in the investigation. If convicted the suspects could be sentenced to 10 years’ incarceration and fined $10,000 on each felony indictment. The TSCRA employs 30 special rangers stationed in specific areas throughout Texas and Oklahoma. These agents are meticulously trained in all aspects of law enforcement as well as in the cattle industry. All are commissioned by the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The TSCRA is a 136-yearold trade association, making it the oldest (as well as largest) livestock organization to be based in Texas. Its membership includes more than 16,000 beef cattle operations, ranches and businesses, comprising about 50,000 individual members involved in ranching and beef production. This group manages about four million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range land in Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere in the Southwest.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng