From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 15 - July 6, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Cattle investigation continues

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Attorney Ralph Boynton said in an interview this week that the investigation into the illegal importation of 920 head of beef cattle into the county in late May continues, and his office will soon be filing charges.

Boynton said he and deputy attorney Meredith Petersen met again last week with Wyoming Livestock Board law enforcement investigator Kim Clark and spent several hours reviewing the case. Similar meetings have occurred on nearly a weekly basis.

“We are diligently dedicating ourselves to this case,” Boynton said.

Five of the eight or nine truck drivers that brought the 16 loads of cattle into the county have been interviewed, Boynton said. The investigation includes attempting to determine what trucks carried what loads of cattle, Boynton said, to determine what counts are proper to specific drivers.

“I think we’re getting pretty close to charging the broker,” Boynton added, “but there are others as well.”

According to Clark, in late May, Utah cattle broker Maitland Webb allegedly arranged the import of 16 loads of cattle into the county without import permits or health certificates. When the cattle were brand inspected in central Utah, the destination point on that inspection was reported as “Woodruff, Utah,” according to Clark, which allowed the cattle through the Evanston port of entry. But instead of going to Woodruff, the cattle were delivered to Sublette County. The cattle were brought into Sublette County without being spayed or receiving calf-hood vaccinations for brucellosis, a violation of animal health rules in Wyoming.

Boynton said his office must determine how charges will be filed against all involved, including deciding whether the charges will be based on criminal information filings or misdemeanor citations.

Boynton said if criminal information is relied on, truckers from “all parts of the nation” would be ordered to court. But getting them here at the same time would be problematic. Truckers from out of state would not be eligible for extradition based on misdemeanor counts.

“When we charge it, it will be fully thought out and well orchestrated,” Boynton said.

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