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5 people charged in timber theft conspiracy on reservation

Posted: 1:15 PM, Feb 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-22 14:15:59-05
logs timber lumber

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Federal authorities say five people have been indicted for allegedly cutting down trees on the Menominee Indian Reservation in order to sell timber to saw mills outside the reservation without consent from the Wisconsin tribe.

Conspiracy charges have been filed against 43-year-old Melvin Caldwell Jr., of Neopit; 49-year-old Arthur Fish, of Keshena; 49-year-old Chauncey Webster Jr., of Neopit; 30-year-old Derrin Webster, of Neopit; and 41-year-old Dugan Webster, of Shawano.

Prosecutors say the suspects cut down trees without permission on at least 100 occasions. The saw mills allegedly paid about $400,000 between January 2012 and September 2018 for the timber, which the defendants divided among themselves.

The defendants each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.