EMORY, Texas — A cattle rustler who evaded authorities by faking his own kidnapping and fleeing to Mexico has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars in fraudulent livestock deals across the country.
Ronald Ryan Shepard Jr., 41, faced arrest in six states for a variety of cattle scams before disappearing in March 2012 as authorities were closing in, according to the special rangers of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association.
The U.S. Marshals Service soon tracked him to Mazatlan in Mexico where he was arrested and extradited back to the U.S. later that year.
Upon his return, Shepard was jailed in a federal prison for two years on a probation violation stemming from a 2004 conviction in Florida for cattle theft. He later pleaded guilty to livestock theft charges in Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Kentucky and Missouri.
Earlier this week, he pleaded guilty to the last of the charges he faced in Texas where he was accused of failing to pay for $600,000 worth of cattle he agreed to buy at auctions across east Texas, authorities said.
In all, authorities say Shepard stole between $4 million and $6 million in sham cattle deals around the country.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for pleading guilty to three counts of livestock theft and was ordered to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution to victims in Texas and Florida
“I am glad to finally have a resolution to this long, drawn out saga,” said TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand. “I cannot thank enough the huge array of local, state and federal agencies who collaborated to track down and prosecute Shepard for his numerous crimes. I hope any potential future offenders will take note of the consequences.”