EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An Edinburg man received a third charge for theft of cattle, then announced his candidacy for president in 2024.

Phillip Drake, 38, was arrested on May 5 for theft of property between $30,000 and $150,000 according to Hidalgo County jail records.

This came after Pablo Garza reported Drake to the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for allegedly stealing over $70,000 which was meant for investment in cattle with Drake.

Credit: Hidalgo County Jail Records; 2022 Phillip Drake mug shot

TSCRA reported Garza planned to invest in a fifty-fifty partnership with Drake with plans to purchase 2,000 heads of cattle.

Drake said Garza’s report was false.

“Supposedly he paid for half of that 2,000 [cows] at $7,232-something-dollars,” said Drake. “That is $36 dollars a cow!”

Drake posted bail the following Saturday for $30,000, according to Hidalgo County jail records.

However, special ranger Joe Aguilar with TSCRA who arrested Drake said Drake’s most recent charge is connected to a bigger scheme led by Drake.

“Phillip Drake was acquiring cattle by not means of purchasing it, but in this case, some of these cattle were coming down from the San Antonio area just to come graze and then they were going to be sent back,” said Aguilar. “[Drake] was actually getting paid by another victim [Roy Ruiz] to graze the cattle then send them back.”

Drake was arrested by Aguilar in November 2021 for theft of 37 heads of cattle from Ruiz, according to arrest documents.

The month prior, Salvador Garza, a relative of Pablo Garza, reported Drake for theft of 232 heads of cattle, according to Aguilar.

Aguilar said Drake used Ruiz’s cattle to con Pablo and Salvador Garza, leading to his third arrest.

“While the cattle were on his property he was using [Ruiz’s] cattle as a scheme to get money from Mr. Garza and one of his family members at the time who he did not know was in the same scheme,” said Aguilar.

Drake said the cattle in question unknowingly disappeared while he experience health issues earlier last year.

“Back at the beginning of last year I had a stroke, so I was down for a while, so when I finally started coming around again I got the workers from the hay business to start going through cattle,” said Drake. “There were cattle missing.”

Pablo Garza was supposed to look after the cattle during the time Drake was out ill, according to Drake.

Drake said he believes Garza and the TSCRA are targeting him.

“Because the person in charge of running the investigation is my arch enemy, therefore why would he involve my business partner? why not just pin it on the one guy?” said Drake.

ValleyCentral asked Aguilar if there are any other suspects in the investigation. Currently, Drake is the only one so far.

“I don’t know whose involved at this point in time,” said Aguilar. “[Drake] has been the principal person we’ve been looking at because everybody else has identified him.”

Aguilar confirmed that he arrested Drake in Starr County in 2019 for a cattle theft incident not related to his most recent charges.

Drake, who said he is from South Carolina, confirmed he was charged there for similar crimes before coming to Texas.

“I was charged with breach of contract,” said Drake. “In the hay industry.”

Meanwhile, Aguilar said the investigation is ongoing with the potential of more victims.

Drake said he is focusing on his U.S. presidential campaign for 2024 and will not let these charges get in the way.

“I mean bogus charges are bogus charges!” said Drake.

If you have any information or details on this investigation contact the TSCRA at 956-513-0297.