CUSHING, Okla. – Investigators say cattle helped lead them to a crime ring spanning three states.
The Department of Agriculture recovered more than $500,000 in stolen property and cattle, and they are still looking for more.
It all started in Cushing when someone called authorities because they saw cattle they thought looked suspicious.
Jerry Flowers, with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, said, “Their brands had been altered and branded over in order to disguise this cattle.”
The cattle were stolen, which led investigators on a hunt across Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.
Authorities say the driving force behind the criminal enterprise was meth.
Flowers said, “That’s the drug lab that we found inside of a silo.”
Authorities say Bryan Case was one of the alleged ring leaders, who they arrested in Kansas.
Flowers said, “The cattle would be stolen in Kansas.”
Then the cattle was shipped to Oklahoma, rebranded and sold.
In Oklahoma, it is a felony to rebrand cattle in that manner and carries up to three years in prison for each head of cattle.
Investigators also found hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen property.
He said, “Not only in this investigation did we stop a major ring of outlaws carrying stolen equipment and stolen cattle over state lines, but we also cut the head off the snake in taking out a big source of their methamphetamines when we took out that lab.”
Case is behind bars in the Payne County Jail and more people are expected to be arrested in this case.
As for the stolen property, it has all been returned to the rightful owners.