- Associated Press - Monday, April 19, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - An Arkansas man pleaded guilty Monday to illegally damaging or removing trees from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.

Jamie R. Edmondson, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court in Springfield to depredation of government property.

He admitted that he cut and removed 27 walnut and white oak trees from the forest in Barry County without permission of the U.S. Forest Service. He sold the timber he took between June 1, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020, to sawmills in the area.

Prosecutors said Edmondson was caught after surveillance cameras were installed in the area and they recorded images of the truck he used.

The timber was valued at about $20,000 and the ecological damage and remediation necessary was at least $44,000, prosecutors said.

Edmondson faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison without parole.

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