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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Maple Cutter Pleads Guilty To Poaching

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal prosecutors allege these bigleaf maples in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest were cut down by poachers.

A southwest Washington man has pleaded guilty to poaching bigleaf maple trees from U.S. Forest Service land. Ryan Anthony Justice entered his plea Thursday in federal court in Tacoma.

Justice admitted he cut maple trees in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and sold the wood to J&L Tonewoods, a mill that specialized in “figured” maple for musical instruments. The mill owner and two other alleged poachers were also charged in the case and have pleaded not guilty.

As part of his plea deal, prosecutors will recommend Justice spend 15 months in prison plus pay restitution.

The trial for the other defendants in the case has been set for January of next year.