Modern-Day Rustlers Wrangle Millions of Dollars From Texas Ranchers

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Even in today’s modern times, there are people in Texas who are deputized to protect ranchers from cattle rustlers. If you were thinking the age-old bane of the ranching industry had long since seen its heyday, you thought wrong. The Smithsonian reported that ranchers in the Lone Star State continue to lose millions to cattle rustlers annually. Like many of today’s crimes, the cattle rustler has simply found different ways to commit their crimes. People like John Bradshaw, working in the North Central Plains of Texas, are tasked with bringing them to justice.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is the agency that’s been deputized to investigate such crimes by the state. They investigate in both Texas and Oklahoma. Over the past 10 years, 30 special rangers, such as Bradshaw, recovered over $48 million in equipment and livestock. If you think it’s petty theft, you’d be surprised. Those stealing a few cattle or horses can take in upwards of a few thousand when it’s all said and done. According to the association, a calf can generate a payday of close to $1K, and an uncastrated bull can get them close to $3K. That’s a lot of money to tempt potential cattle rustlers. If the cattle aren’t marked or branded, that makes it all that much easier for a thief. Texas doesn’t require ranchers to mark or brand their cattle. But, recently, there’s been a shift toward larger, more creative initiatives in the industry, reaping millions from the businesses and banks that deal in agriculture.

Modern-Day Rustlers Wrangle Millions of Dollars From Texas Ranchers
Photo: Pixabay

Intricate scams have become the calling card of modern-day cattle rustlers. Understanding the ins and outs of the financial world hasn’t hurt them. Some of them hustle millions from these institutions using cattle as collateral, most of which isn’t even theirs. One individual of note, which Bradshaw worked to indict, would “drive up to a place like right there and say, ‘Yep, those are my cattle,'” motioning toward grazing cattle, knowing to what extent the banks would go in the verification of ownership. “Their jaw dropped when they realized there [were] no cattle whatsoever,” Bradshaw told

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