Repeat offender convicted for illegal mining

A 52-year-old miner received his third conviction Monday for maintaining an illegal gold mining camp on federal lands in rural Josephine County.

David Duane Everist, 52, was sentenced to 30 days in jail after he was found guilty of unlawfully maintaining a residence on national forestlands, using forestlands without an approved operating plan and cutting trees without authorization, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Medford.

The latest case against Everist began in October 2011 when he moved two trailers into what he would call the Twin Cedars mining claim, located on lands in Josephine County near Carberry Creek Road that are maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

Federal law enforcement soon spotted him mining a stream in the area and cutting trees without approval from the Forest Service.

When the officers approached Everist to warn him not to continue his illegal mining, Everist insisted that the agents were trespassing on his private property and that the Forest Service had no jurisdiction over his claim.

He also threatened to have the Forest Service officials arrested for trespassing by the Josephine County Sheriff's Office.

The Forest Service special agent who inspected Everist's claim found the site was littered with garbage and that there was little evidence that any actual mining was occurring.

In his arrest affidavit, the special agent described the claim as being "littered with food packages, camping supplies and other refuse. In addition to the refuse around the site, I observed a large pile of food containers, bottles, metal cans, plastic boxes and trash dumped between two logs that lay in the dry gravel bed of the nearby creek."

The agent said the dumping site had been used for at least a few months.

The special agents eventually issued a warrant for Everist's arrest after he refused to comply with the government's order to stop his illegal mining.

This is Everist's third conviction for violating Forest Service regulations on this same mining site. In June 2009, he was convicted of leaving refuse and debris at the site and was given a $50 fine.

He appealed the fine, claiming the Forest Service had no jurisdiction over the claim. His conviction was later upheld in an appeals court.

For his latest conviction, Everist will spend nearly a month in jail and will serve three years' probation that will bar him from occupying or conducting a mining claim on federal lands.

Everist was also ordered to pay $2,050 restitution to the Forest Service for the cost of removing his trailers from the site.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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