SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) - A Sallisaw police officer has pleaded not guilty to 31 counts of cattle rustling.

Wendel Don Hughes was arrested this week on livestock larceny charges. A joint investigation with the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department found 178 cattle had been stolen over a three-year period, and authorities say the cattle were sold in Hughes' name.

Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards tells the Southwest Times Record that Hughes is on administrative leave without pay, pending the outcome of the case. Edwards says that if Hughes is cleared, he'll likely go back to work, and if he is convicted, he'll face termination.
A case status conference is set for 9 a.m. on Feb. 28.

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