Pct. 3 Comm. Lloyd Crabtree, 52, and his son Todd Allen Crabtree, 28, were released under $40,000 bond each, set by Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray.
They allegedly held Texas game warden Shane Bailey at gunpoint, after they caught him patrolling their property near the Sabine River south of Big Sandy.
Bailey was traveling on a 4-wheeler.
The first-degree felony carries a sentence upon conviction of 5 to 99 years or life in prison, or a fine up to $10,000.
Bailey was able to call 911 on his cell phone for help, and several other officers responded to the scene immediately.
Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said that Bailey was in uniform at the time.
Game wardens are fully licensed peace officers in Texas, with the same rights and responsibilities as other law officers, such as Department of Public Safety troopers.
Byrd said that Bailey’s vehicle was also clearly marked, and that he was wearing a badge and insignia.
Byrd said that other officers were threatened when they arrived at the scene, but since the investigation is ongoing, he could provide no further details.
Texas law allows game wardens broad leeway to enter both public and private property to search for game violations.
On Sunday, Texas Rangers, other game wardens, and DPS troopers executed a search warrant on the property, investigating the scene.
Byrd said the Texas Rangers are the “primary investigators” on the case now, at his request, and that the state game wardens’ internal affairs division is also investigating.
The Crabtrees were booked into the Upshur County Jail at 7:47 p.m. Saturday, and were released on bond about 9 a.m. Sunday.
They had surrendered about 3 p.m. Saturday, following a brief stand-off.
Crabtree and his son were withholding comment, pending retaining an attorney, Lloyd Crabtree said Tuesday morning.
Byrd said a third man was at a different location on the Crabtree property, but was not involved in the incident and was not arrested.
Lloyd Crabtree has represented Pct. 3 since January, 2005, after winning election in November, 2004.
Pct. 3 comprises southwest Upshur County, including the communities of Big Sandy, Pritchett and the part of Gladewater that is in Upshur County, and Union Grove.
He was defeated in the Republican Party Primary earlier this year by businessman Frank Berka.
Since there is no Democratic Party or other challenger in the November General Election, Berka is expected to take office in January.
Crabtree’s case is not expected to be tried before he leaves office.
Bailey, who became Upshur County Game Warden a few months ago, is a 20-year military veteran, most of that time in Special Forces, Byrd said.
He said that, while a civil action could be filed to remove Crabtree from office before his term expires, it would not get through court before his term expires anyway.