OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Sallisaw police officer has been arrested and charged with cattle rustling.

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Chief Agent Col. Mike Grimes says officer Wendel Hughes was arrested Wednesday and charged with 31 counts of larceny of livestock.

Grimes says Hughes was arrested after a joint investigation with the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department found 178 cattle had been stolen over a three-year period. Grimes says the cattle were sold in Hughes' name.

A telephone message left with Hughes' attorney was not immediately returned.

Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa (shuh-LOH'-uh) Edwards says Hughes is an eight-year veteran of the police department and has been placed on administrative leave without pay.

Grimes says Hughes was booked Wednesday into the Sequoyah County Jail and later released on bond.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

For more information on cattle thefts see www.CattleWatch.com. A national program to help stop cattle theft. sponsored by Bayer Animal Health.