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Arkansas man admits to cutting down trees in Mark Twain National Forest

An Arkansas man pleaded guilty to cutting down more than two dozen trees from the Mark Twain National Forest that he then sold to sawmills, federal prosecutors said.

Jamie Edmondson admitted to taking 27 walnut and white oak trees between June 2019 and January 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said in a statement.

The ecological damage was valued at more than $23,000, according to court documents. The value of the timber was around $20,300.

Edmondson, 46, was indicted in November, and court documents say he is in custody.

Emailed requests for comment to federal public defenders listed as currently or previously representing him were not returned Monday night.

Edmondson pleaded guilty to one count of depredation of government property. A plea agreement does not spell out a recommended sentence. It carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years, prosecutors said.

The Mark Twain National Forest is named for the author and humorist who was born and raised in Missouri. The trees were cut down in Barry County, in southwestern Missouri, according to court documents.

Edmondson was arrested after a forest service agent investigating the damage set up cameras that captured a truck that led them to him.

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