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Loving County judge arrested for cattle theft

A special ranger confirms Judge Jones and three others are accused of picking up estray cattle and selling them.

WINKLER COUNTY, Texas — The top seated official in the least populated county in the state of Texas was arrested Friday. Loving County Judge Skeet Jones is accused of livestock theft and organized criminal activity.

A special ranger with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association confirmed Judge Jones and three others, including a county employee, are accused of picking up estray cattle and selling them.

Judge Jones, Cody Williams, Jonathon Alvarado and Leroy Medlin were all booked into the Winkler County Jail before they bonded out Friday night.

Special rangers have been investigating for more than a year.

By law, if an estray (loose) livestock animal roams onto a property, the property owner must report the livestock to the the sheriff. The sheriff's office would then contact the livestock's owner and work toward reunification.

Jones and Williams are officially charged for theft of three head of cattle and organized crime. Alvarado is charged for theft of one head of cattle and organized crime. Medlin is charged for organized crime.

More charges are expected, according to the NBC affiliate in Austin.

Judge Jones has been in trouble before. He was reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in 2016 for changing speeding tickets into parking violations. The drivers would pay a higher fine but keep a clean driving record.

An open records request of Loving County traffic violations uncovered more than 90 illegal parking violations that started as something else. Other changed charges include, assault causing bodily injury, possession of marijuana, illegal dumping and driving with an invalid license.

The commission opened an investigation in 2014 after the actions were brought to light in a news report. Judge Jones was given a public warning and ordered to complete 10 hours of instruction.

Stay with NewsWest 9 as we learn more. 

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