Loving County Judge arrested for cattle rustling and organized crime

The smallest county in Texas by population garnered major attention last week with the arrest of one of its top elected officials on charges of livestock theft or “cattle rustling” and organized crime.

Loving County Judge Skeet Jones was arrested by Special Texas Rangers of the Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and booked along with several others in the Winkler County jail Friday on multiple felony charges including theft of livestock and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Jones was charged with four felony charges, including engaging in organized criminal activity, and three counts of theft of cattle, and a $20,000 cash bond was set. 

According to a media release, Jones was arrested as the result of an over-year-long investigation.

Jones, 71, first assumed office in 2007 and was honored by the Texas House of Representatives in a resolution by then state Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, that praised Jones for his service to Loving County.

“Since taking office in 2007, Judge Jones has distinguished himself through his outstanding work as presiding officer of the commissioners court and through his astute leadership of county government operations; and the significant contributions of Skeet Jones have helped make Loving County an even better place in which to live, and he may take justifiable pride in his exemplary record of achievement,” the resolution reads.

Bordering on the New Mexico state line in West Texas, the U.S. Census Bureau presently estimates the total population of Loving at 64, making it the smallest county by population in the state.

The arrest has put the small community in the national spotlight, with widespread coverage even being reported by overseas media.

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