OPELOUSAS — State and local investigators this week rounded up two suspected cattle rustlers in a heist of prized heifers and one bull from a St. Landry Parish ranch where one of the men had worked.
Jeramie Brown, of Eunice, was arrested Wednesday, and Dustin Brack Guillory, of Mamou, was arrested Friday. Both were jailed on two counts of felony cattle theft and two counts of criminal trespass, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Lt. Clay Higgins said.
Brown, 37, and Guillory, 23, face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said. Both men are being held in lieu of $12,000 bail each.
Higgins said Brown was a “trusted employee” at the family-owned ranch that on Monday reported 13 heifers and a bull had been stolen.
Sheriff’s Office detectives along with state Livestock Brand Commission inspectors collected evidence that pointed to Brown, Higgins said.
Later, “it was determined that Jeramie Brown and Dustin Brack Guillory had snuck onto the property on two occasions, loaded cattle into a trailer, transported the stolen livestock to an auction, and sold them,” Higgins said in a news release.
Some of the livestock have been found, including a few from as far away as Carthage, Texas, and returned to the ranch, Higgins said. He said authorities expect to recover all of the cattle.
Reached late Thursday, Veronica Mosgrove, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said she had no specific details about the case, but she noted that a bull might sell for $3,500 and heifers for $1,500 each.
“The theft of prize livestock like this is a crime that carries a heavy sentence,” Guidroz said. “Cattle-rustling has always been taken very seriously in the South. … Ranchers and farmers in St. Landry Parish are a crucial part of our economy and they provide food for many thousands of Americans. Jeramie Brown and Dustin Guillory will have their day in court.”
Higgins on Friday declined to name the ranch that reported the stolen cattle.