Kentucky man sentenced for Indiana timber theft

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE)  The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released details of the first federally prosecuted case of timber theft in the state.

Cheyenne Allen of Salyersville, Kentucky has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for illegally cutting down nearly $85,000 worth of black walnut trees on land near Logansport in 2011 that he didn’t own.  According to the DNR, timber can only be harvested by the landowner or by a licensed timber buyer who has purchased the timber. Allen’s timber buyer’s license was previously revoked by Indiana Department of Natural Resources in October 2009, because of repeated timber theft and other violations across multiple counties of northern Indiana.

Allen posed as the new owner of nearly 20-acres of land and organized a crew to harvest the timber. He then marketed the logs to saw mills. Harvested logs were sold to companies in Indiana and Kentucky. Products from these trees eventually made it as far as Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain, Portugal, Austria and other international forest product buyers.

“This case is a prime example of how important it is to collaborate with our state conservation partners to stop career violators,” said Edward Grace, Deputy Assistant Director for Law Enforcement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Black walnut is one of six walnut tree species found in the United States and one of 15 species found worldwide. This slow-growing tree is native to the central and eastern regions of our country and can live to be more than 200 years old, with diameters as wide as three to four feet! Black walnut is the most valuable tree species in the Midwest based on price per board foot. It is in high demand internationally for specialty woodworking including flooring and furniture wood inlays.

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