Hang ‘Em High? 21st Century Cattle Rustlers Plead Guilty in Oklahoma

Twenty-eight-year-old Anthony Whittley of Parsons, Kansas and 28-year-old Jasmine Boone, a/k/a Jasmine Thomas, of Wister, Oklahoma  pleaded guilty to cattle rustling on June 5,  according to a statement by United States Attorney Timothy J. Downing.

According to a member of the FBI’s Major Theft Task Force, a grand jury handed down a two-count indictment charging the two suspects — Whittley and Boone — with transporting seventeen stolen cattle in interstate commerce on December 11, 2018, by moving them from Cherokee County, Kansas, to the Oklahoma National Stockyards Company in Oklahoma City, without the knowledge, permission or authorization of the cattle’s owners.

FBI agents arrested the pair, read them their Miranda Rights and handcuffed them when the actual sale was complete.  In April 2019, the two alleged cattle-rustlers were transferred to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

On June 5, 2019,  both Whittley and Boone pleaded guilty to transporting cattle in interstate commerce.  They also acknowledged in their written federal plea agreement that they committed similar thefts in Crawford County, Kansas, and LeFlore County, Oklahoma, in the second half of 2018.

In addition, the two defendants admitted they sold these cattle in Tulsa and Springfield, Missouri, respectively.  They also admitted they sold cattle stolen in Cherokee County, Kansas, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Cattle-Rustlers Anthony Whittley of Parsons, Kansas, and Jasmine Boone, a/k/a Jasmine Thomas, of Wister, Oklahoma.

Whittley has agreed to pay more than $43,000 in restitution, including more than $15,000 to the Farm Service Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the sale of mortgaged cattle without the lender’s authorization.  Boone has agreed to pay more than $28,000 in restitution.

Each defendant could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, in addition to three years of supervised release, and fined up to $250,000.  Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.

According to the Department of Justice’s press statement, this case was investigated by the Major Theft Task Force of the FBI Office in Oklahoma City; the Oklahoma Agriculture Dept.; the Missouri Highway Patrol; the Kansas Attorney General’s Office; the County Attorney’s Offices and Sheriff’s Offices in Cherokee County and Crawford County, Kansas; and the District Attorney’s Office of LeFlore County, Oklahoma.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Kumiega is listed as the chief prosecutor in the case.

Wild, Wild West

In the 19th Century, many of the U.S. states considered horse-thievery and cattle-rustling capital offenses, with many judges sending suspects to the hangman’s gallows for execution. Today, except for a few locations in Africa such as Nigeria — where cattle-rustling and rape are capital crimes — most nations don’t execute cattle-rustlers or horse-thieves.

Recently, Oklahoma’s House Criminal Justice and Corrections committee narrowly passed a measure Wednesday that would make fines and sentences for cattle theft steeper than they are for aggravated assault.
House Bill 1387, authored by freshman Rep. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, would assess fines at three times the value of the animal or equipment stolen and set a prison sentence of up to 15 years for those convicted of the crime. The measure passed on a 6-5 vote.
Murdock said many cattle being stolen are valued at more than $30,000 each, which, under the bill, would create a penalty of up to $90,000.


Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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