Cattle were recovered and returned

Nashville – Recently, swift action by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Crime Unit (ACU) resulted in the recovery of stolen cattle worth thousands of dollars.

Three suspects, Gary James Hill from Sweetwater and Thomas Dewayne Pressley and Donna Ann Vaughn, both from Athens, were taken to the McMinn County jail, each facing felony charges of theft over $6,000.

Early on the morning of Dec. 3, the theft occurred in Englewood in McMinn County. Quick investigative work led ACU Special Agent Clint Brookshire 130 miles west to Lincoln County. There he identified five cattle recently purchased by a citizen through a private Craigslist transaction as the stolen property.

Pressley and Vaughn were tracked down in Sweetwater Dec. 6. and arrested, followed by Hill Dec. 7 who was in Athens.

The cattle were recovered and returned, and ACU recovered a portion of the money from the fraudulent sale for the buyer. The buyer is not believed to be involved in the theft. The McMinn County Sheriff’s Department and Sweetwater and Athens Police Departments partnered with ACU in the investigation.

The Agricultural Crime Unit is a vital component of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s mission to serve, support and promote agriculture and forestry in the state. ACU law enforcement officers are charged with investigating and enforcing state laws related to the agriculture community. To accomplish this work they collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

To contact ACU call 844-AG-CRIME (844-242-7463) or email

Image by wirestock on Freepik.

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