After the Tyler County Sheriff's Office received a information from the FBI field office in Dallas about a plot to kill a justice of the peace over a stolen tractor last week, three people were arrested and charged.
Dalton Collins, 45, of Woodville and Alicia Johnson, 35, of Woodville, were booked into the Tyler County Jail on charges of terroristic threat against a judicial official and theft. Matthew McKenzie, 24, of Spurger, was charged with theft.
Johnson is still being held in the Tyler County Jail. Collins posted a collective bail amount of $105,000 and was released from jail, and McKenzie was released after he posted a $3,500 bail amount.
According to a press release, the Tyler County Sheriff's Office received a call from the FBI field office in Dallas on March 28 that said the federal agency had received a tip about a possible murder attempt of a sitting judge in the Southeast Texas area.
When the sheriff's office got additional information from the FBI, investigators learned that Tyler County Justice of the Peace Jim Moore was the one that was allegedly being targeted. TCSO investigators met with the original caller at his home, which is located east of Woodville.
The witness told the investigators that he had been made aware of a plan to kill Moore because the people involved had sold a stolen tractor to the justice of the peace, and the piece of equipment was being sought by law enforcement, the press release stated.
"The witness told investigators that individuals, known to him as Dalton and Alicia, made him aware of the planned attack and had left two firearms at his residence that were recovered by investigators," the press release stated. "Tyler County investigators had already been working in conjunction with the Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators in reference to the stolen tractor and were able to identify the two individuals in question as Dalton Collins, age 45, of Woodville, and Alicia Johnson, 35, of Woodville."
According to the press release, McKenzie was only involved in the sale of the stolen tractor.
Moore was able to provide TCSO investigators with a bill of sale for the stolen tractor, which was recovered by the Hardon County Sheriff's Office, the press release stated. Moore also told investigators that Collins had contacted him on March 27 and asked him to meet in person the next evening in regard to the tractor.
"Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence of Collins and Johnson and were able to recover additional evidence as well as other stolen property," the press release stated.
Tyler County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested McKenzie on March 29. Then on the next day, the United States Marshal's Service Task Force arrested Collins and Johnson without incident in Jefferson County.
The case is still under investigation with the assistance of the FBI and the Texas Rangers.