Cattle rustling may be a crime straight out of a John Wayne Western, but in an ABC News report, modern rustling combines an old crime with a modern, “Breaking Bad” twist.
According to the report, cattle ranchers and law enforcement are fighting a new battle to protect herds from meth addicts who steal cattle and sell them to finance their drug habits.
In Missouri, surveillance footage caught thieves backing up a big rig to a cow pen, and coaxing the cattle one-by-one into the trailer. Click here for more from ABC News.
Another recent incident in Oklahoma involved two suspects, including a one-time ranch hand, accused of stealing 100 cows from rancher Jet McCoy of “The Amazing Race” fame. The men took cattle gradually, and it took McCoy a while before he noticed they were gone, according to People magazine.
Chief Jerry Flowers, who heads up a special task force set up by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to apprehend cattle thieves, said, "In interviews with me and my agents, both suspects admitted to being meth users. While there are no drug charges being filed against Wallace and Smith in this case, they both have prior arrests for narcotic charges."
McCoy now understands more than ever why cowboys in the Old West often took matter into their own hands.
"It's no surprise to me that in the old days when they found somebody stealing cattle and horses that they'd just string 'em up," said McCoy. "If it was up to me, I'd fix it so they wouldn't steal any more [cattle]. I mean, I'd cut a hand off or somethin.' "