Cattle Thief Who Faked Kidnapping, Fled to Mexico, Pleads Guilty

A convicted Texas cattle thief who faked his own kidnapping and fled to Mexico has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison, officials say.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association announced Tuesday that 41-year-old Ronald Ryan Shepard Junior plead guilty May 18 to three felony counts of livestock theft in the Eighth District Court of Rains County.

In a news release, a TSCRA spokesman said Shepard first caught the attention of Texas authorities in August of 2011 after failing to pay for cattle purchased from seven East Texas auction markets.

After being indicted, Shepard faked his own kidnapping and went on the run, officials said. He fled to Mazatlan, Mexico, where he was arrested and extradited by U.S. Marshals in July 2012, according to the TSCRA.

Shepard, who's been serving sentences for livestock-related charges in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas, was sentenced to 10 years of prison and ordered to pay court costs, attorney's fees and more than $125,000 in restitution to his victim in Texas, officials said.

He also agreed to pay $200,000 in restitution to a victim in Florida in lieu of extradition and criminal prosecution there.

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