Ex-San Antonio police detective arrested in West Texas cattle theft ring, authorities say

Leroy Medlin, 35, worked at SAPD before joining the Loving County Sheriff’s Office in 2019

Medlin, a former officer and deputy, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a second-degree felony, the TSCRA stated. (Winkler County Sheriff's Office)

SAN ANTONIO – A former San Antonio police detective who racked up three indefinite suspensions during his time with SAPD was arrested in a West Texas cattle theft operation that also led to the arrest of a county judge.

Leroy Medlin, 35, was arrested Friday alongside Loving County Judge Skeet Jones, 71, and two other people following a year-long investigation, according to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Medlin, also a former deputy with Loving County, was charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a second-degree felony, the TSCRA stated.

Jones, Jonathon Alvarado, 23, and Cody Williams, 31, were each charged with livestock theft and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Skeet Jones, 71, Jonathon Alvarado, 23, and Cody Williams, 31, were each charged with livestock theft and engaging in organized criminal activity, authorities say. (Winkler County Sheriff's Office)

All four men were taken to the jail in neighboring Winkler County, where they have since been released on bond, according to the sheriff’s office. Winkler County is west of Odessa and Midland.

In a statement, the association said that the four men allegedly gathered stray cattle in the area and sold them without authorization, which is illegal in Texas.

The procedures set forth in the Texas Agriculture Code include calling the sheriff to report stray livestock and allowing the sheriff to search for the animal’s owner, according to the Associated Press.

The association has commissioned peace officers known as special rangers who investigate agricultural crimes, including the theft of cattle and horses. The rangers also determine the ownership of stray livestock.

TSCRA said all men lived in Loving County, where Jones has been in office since 2007.

Medlin was hired as a deputy in Loving County in January 2019 and left the agency in September 2020, Sheriff Chris Busse told KSAT.

Busse did not clarify why Medlin left LCSO.

According to NBC News, Medlin’s wife emailed the news organization and questioned the arrests, saying her family is “being targeted at full force.”

Prior to living in West Texas, he worked as a San Antonio police detective for five years.

He was indefinitely suspended — which is the equivalent of being fired — by SAPD in 2018 after he started an unauthorized high-speed chase, KSAT previously reported.

That April, Medlin pulled over a truck on southbound I-37 when he noticed the plates didn’t match the vehicle. While questioning the driver, the man drove off and Medlin ran back to his patrol vehicle to chase the suspect.

Medlin radioed dispatchers and said that he believed the truck was stolen. When a supervisor asked Medlin over the radio if there was anything else beyond the truck being possibly stolen, Medlin responded, “This dude, he almost ran me over.”

According to SAPD’s policy on pursuits, a driver in a stolen vehicle who flees from a traffic stop is not enough to warrant a pursuit, but it was approved on Medlin’s claim that the driver almost hit him.

That driver was eventually arrested after the chase and two-hour standoff, but a review found that Medlin was untruthful when he stated that he was almost hit by the truck.

In fact, the videos reveal Medlin was not even close to being struck by the fleeing suspect.

His suspension record dated back to 2013, according to KSAT reports. He was indefinitely suspended in 2015 for a similar incident regarding an unauthorized chase, but he was able to get his job back through arbitration.

Watch: Fired SAPD detective critical of pursuit policy he’s accused of violating twice

In late 2018, he was issued a third indefinite suspension alleging insubordination.

Jones has also been in trouble before Friday’s arrest, according to media reports.

In 2016, he was reprimanded by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct because he reduced the charge for speeding and marijuana possession to parking tickets, News West 9 and NBC News reported.

He was given a warning and had to complete 10 hours of training.

News West 9 said that his family’s history in ranching dates back decades in Loving County.

His relatives are also city officials, including a nephew as a constable and a sister as the county clerk, the TV station reported.

Among Jones’ biggest accomplishments as county judge include helping establish a public water system and paving roads in the state’s least-populated county.

Located along the Texas-Mexico border, it has a population of 57 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

TSCRA declined to provide additional details about the case, citing the ongoing investigation. The theft of livestock charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison while the organized criminal activity charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

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About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.