Jorge Rivera

Jorge Rivera

VISALIA — The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man Wednesday for the shooting and killing of a Visalia dairyman, officials said.

Around 2:20 p.m., TCSO deputies were called to the 10100 block of Avenue 352 in Visalia for reports of a victim that was shot.

When deputies arrived, they found 56-year-old Anthony Joe Dragt in the middle of the road with multiple gunshot wounds. Officials pronounced him dead at the scene.

Immediately, detectives began an investigation and homicide detectives were called to the scene to take over the case.

Investigators said they quickly learned of a possible suspect. They said 26-year-old Jorge Rivera was hired to work for the Dragt Dairy in May 2018, but stopped showing up for work in June 2019. The family told detectives that, since then, Rivera had been harassing them.

Detectives were able to track down several surveillance videos from the Dragt Dairy, as well as surrounding dairies. They said the surveillance videos showed Rivera arriving at the Dragt Dairy at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, where employees said he was asking for Tony Dragt.

Ten minutes later, officials said Rivera is seen on surveillance video at another dairy asking for the victim. At 2 p.m., they said the suspect’s car is seen at the victim’s house and at 2:15 p.m., both the suspect’s and victim’s vehicles were seen on surveillance video from another dairy.

After reviewing the surveillance videos, detectives confirmed that Rivera drove a black Chrysler 200, which was similar to the vehicle seen in all of the surveillance videos.

Through their investigation, detectives were the able to track down Rivera’s cell phone number and ping it to a location on Highway 99, heading toward Bakersfield.

Undercover detectives set up and conducted a two-hour surveillance on the Rivera’s vehicle. They said he was located in the Richgrove area around 9:15 p.m.

Detectives stopped his car a short time later in the area of Highway 99 and County Line Road and Rivera was taken into custody just after 9:20 p.m. Officials said four guns were found in his car.

The case remains under investigation and anyone with information is urged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 733-6218 or 1-800-808-0488, or anonymously at tcso@tipnow.com or by text or voicemail at 725-4194.

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