Man charged in cattle theft, altering brands

Dec. 13 preliminary hearing set

— A Slate Creek man faces felony charges related to allegations of cattle theft and misbranding.

James P. Marek, 40, is set for a Dec. 13 preliminary hearing in magistrate court on charges of grand theft, altering marks and brands on livestock, and branding livestock owned by another.

According to court documents, charges resulted from a series of alleged incidents committed in 2014 when Marek was working as a buying agent for Dion Van Well of Watertown, S.D. A buying agent is physically in-person at the livestock yard bidding and then arranging subsequent stock transport for his or her client.

According to an Idaho County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) investigation, Marek is alleged to have branded six of Van Well’s cattle with his brand and sold these after presenting false information to obtain a brand inspection. Five of these were sold to the Oregon producer for $12,500, and one in Lewiston for $1,400.

ICSO Deputy Scott Paulsen investigated the case, in cooperation with Idaho State Police Brand Inspector Jim Kennedy.

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