NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The supreme court has issued a significant ruling on cattle theft, reducing the number of charges a suspect can face. It stems from a case involving three defendants accused of stealing cattle from ranches in Otero County.

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They faced one charge for each head of cattle they allegedly stole. They claim this is double jeopardy and that the law states they can only be charged for each episode of theft.

The twelfth judicial district court agreed with the defendants and dismissed the extra charges. The supreme court agreed with that ruling. The stealing of livestock is a thrid degree felony.