There have been some encouraging new developments in the case investigation over the past week. We are currently keeping the latest news confidential to protect the investigation. No arrest has been made yet so we encourage members to continue to watch for the suspects described below and any other suspicious activity.
SACPA CATTLE RUSTLING ALERT 5-19-2012
The Southern Arizona Cattlemen’s Protective Association is asking our members to be on the alert for three Hispanic males suspected of rustling cattle. The three suspects are believed to have baited cattle across a ranch boundary with hay and stolen three calves.
The suspects are using a black dually supercab 2002 or 2003 Ford F350 diesel pickup truck equipped with a cow-catcher grill. They were observed at a corral on private land near Dudleyville on two occasions. On the first occasion, Tuesday May 8, 2012, the truck was pulling a light blue 1970’s model horse trailer. On the second occasion, Monday May 14, 2012, it was pulling a white flatbed trailer, and the rig had been hidden in a sand wash below the corral. On both occasions suspects were seen riding a camoflage quad off-highway vehicle (OHV).
When deputies confronted the suspects on May 14 there was not enough evidence available to charge them with a crime. Although the activity occurred on private land, the suspects could not be charged with trespassing because the land was not posted. Both incidents occurred near Dudleyville on Barkerville Road between the Florence-Kelvin Highway and Freeman Road. The suspects may be residents of Florence. Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded both times and stopped the suspects on the highway May 14 for questioning.
The suspects were seen in possession of a firearm, a stun gun, corral panels, lariat ropes, night vision goggles and an electronic cattle prod. There was hay in the back of the pickup truck and littered on the ground.
The truck is legally registered to one of the suspects. Another among the three suspects indicated to deputies that he does not speak English. The deputies contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but ICE would not send anyone to investigate.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has opened a command inquiry led by Lieutenant John Ellsworth, Region B Patrol Commander, to identify all available information and chain of events pertaining to this issue. When PCSO obtains that information they will analyze and evaluate it to develop a strategic leadership action plan. In the near future Lieutenant Ellsworth will facilitate a meeting/briefing between concerned citizens, Sheriff Babeu, Commanders from Regions B and D (eastern Pinal County), and investigative law enforcement staff. PCSO will also coordinate with other law enforcement agencies. All non-emergency inquiries to PCSO regarding these two incidents should be directed to him. He can be reached at (800) 420-8689.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture Brand Inspection Unit is also investigating the matter.
SACPA encourages our members to take advantage of private property and rewards signage that are shown on this page. They are available from SACPA for as little as $5 per sign. If you need signs please contact Micaela McGibbon at (520) 393-1722.
Additionally the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Landowner Respect Program offers a wide variety of ranch signs including private property signs free of charge. Many are available in both Spanish and English. Contact Matt Walton at (520) 388-4468 if interested.