A feedyard manager for a 35,000 head custom cattle feeding operation in Muleshoe, Texas has entered a guilty plea following charges of Theft of Livestock in Bailey County. The charges and conviction are the result of an investigation led by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Dean Bohannon.
The investigation was launched in April after Bohannon was contacted by Frontera Feedyard. It was alleged that the cattle manager for the feeding operation, Jeffery Dean Provence, 52, of Texico, New Mexico, had been selling company cattle as his own. Auction records indicated that Provence would frequently bring cattle to the auction barn on behalf of the feedyard, but would also check in a few animals under his own name. In reviewing the records, Bohannon found numerous transactions from Aug. 2014 to April 2018 where Provence had sold a total of 95 head worth more than $62,000.
Bohannon set up surveillance at the auction barn with the help of fellow Special Ranger Harold Dempsey and Muleshoe Police Lt. Benny Parker. The next time Provence brought in cattle, the three law enforcement officers were waiting, and confronted Provence. He agreed to an interview at the Muleshoe Police Department, during which he quickly confessed to stealing all 95 head identified in the auction records.
Soon after the confession, formal charges were filed in Bailey County. Provence turned himself in to authorities, and on June 13 entered a guilty plea. He paid full restitution for the value of the stolen cattle and received a two-year deferred sentence.
Bohannon hopes the case will serve as warning for others who may consider stealing from their employers.
“It may seem like an easy, harmless transgression to take a few cattle or supplies from your employer, but that is called theft,” warned Bohannon. “It is against the law and you will pay the price when we catch you.”
TSCRA and Special Ranger Bohannon would like to thank the Muleshoe Police Department, especially Lt. Benny Parker and the Bailey County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance on the case.