Grand jury indicts father, son on charges of illegal logging

BOISE — A federal grand jury has indicted a southwest Idaho man and his son on allegations they illegally built a trail network in a national forest in Oregon and stole thousands of dollars' worth of pine logs.

The eight-count indictment was unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boise against Terry K. Burton, 46, of Wilder, and his son Brent L. Burton, 22, of Homedale.

Federal prosecutors allege the men traveled to the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon in May and began building illegal trails into the forest with an all-terrain vehicle and other equipment. Investigators say the pair cut more than 4,000 feet of trails and in some places the trail was as wide as 12 feet so they could transport illegally harvested lodgepole pine logs.

The men are then accused of selling lodgepole pine posts and poles to a company in Parma, Idaho. The indictment authorizes federal officials to seize more than $7,300 in proceeds the two men claimed in selling the illegally harvested timber. In one of the counts, they are accused of illegally harvesting trees from the Payette National Forest in southwestern Idaho.

Terry Burton did not immediately return telephone messages left by The Associated Press on Friday, and Brent Burton doesn't have a publicly listed telephone number.

According to the indictment, both are accused of one felony count of conspiring to commit theft of government property, one count of injury to government property, and six separate felony counts of theft of government property, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

They are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 22.

It's at least the second federal case this year focused on Idahoans illegally cutting trees from national forest lands.

Last month, a northern Idaho man was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $1,700 in restitution for illegally cutting down 40 trees in the Panhandle National Forest. Investigators identified the suspect after his vehicle was captured by a remote wildlife camera traveling to the harvest site.

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