National Park Service officials announced Wednesday that they have arrested a suspect in connection with last year's tree poaching in California's Redwood National Park.
In a statement, the NPS said that Danny E. Garcia of Orick, CA, will be charged with felony grand theft along with two other counts of vandalism. A second suspect, who was not named in the release, may also face related charges.
In April 2013, several large knob-like growths, known as burls, were forcibly cut from the trunks of the park's iconic old-growth redwood trees. Stolen burls are commonly sold into the lucrative custom furniture market, where they can fetch several thousand dollars apiece. Park rangers eventually tracked the stolen timber to a California retail shop:
An anonymous tip led to the discovery of the burls at a local shop. Park Rangers matched the size and shape of the cut burls in the shop with those taken from the old-growth redwood tree at the poaching site. Investigation by NPS Law Enforcement Rangers indicated that Garcia had been in possession of the burls taken from the site, and then sold them to the shop in Del Norte County. The burl shop is not currently under investigation in this matter.
Felony grand theft carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.