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November 13, 2013

Alleged cattle rustler turns self in Tuesday

Ada — A man wanted for allegedly stealing cattle from a Pontotoc County ranch turned himself in to authorities Tuesday.

Larry Gene Smith Jr., 48, Atwood, who had a warrant for suspicion of larceny of domestic cattle, walked into Pontotoc County Justice Center around noon with his attorney and turned himself in. He later appeared by video before Judge Steven Kessinger. Kessinger entered a plea of not guilty on Smith’s behalf and kept his bond at $500,000, the same amount issued along with the arrest warrant.

Agents with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry believe Smith, along with another man, 48-year-old David Lynn Wallace of Atwood, stole nearly 100 head of cattle. Wallace was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of larceny of domestic cattle.

Smith’s attorney said he turned himself in because he was tired of running and didn’t do it sooner because he had some things to get in order beforehand. Jerry Flowers, chief agent of the law enforcement division for ODAFF, said Smith also had no place to go.

“Nobody would have anything to do with him because harboring a fugitive in this state (carries) a stiff penalty,” Flowers said Tuesday, “and that’s what we’ve been telling folks. If anyone harbored him, they were going to wind up getting in trouble right along with him, and it just wasn’t worth that.”

Flowers said ODAFF special agents and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers searched all around southeast Oklahoma for Smith, which kept the pressure on him. Smith is due back in court Dec. 19.

According to an affidavit filed by ODAFF Agent Ricky Rushing, the cattle were reported missing in early October by Jet McCoy, who is the caretaker of the cattle owned by Randy Heflin. Heflin had 179 steers weighing between 500 and 700 pounds on land leased near Allen, according to the affidavit.

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