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.
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.