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5 people charged in timber-theft conspiracy on reservation

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Federal authorities say five people have been indicted over allegations that they cut down trees on the Menominee Indian Reservation in order to sell timber to saw mills outside the reservation without the consent of the Wisconsin tribe.

Conspiracy charges have been filed against 43-year-old Melvin Caldwell Jr., of Neopit; 49-year-old Arthur Fish, of Keshena; 49-year-old Chauncey Webster Jr., of Neopit; 30-year-old Derrin Webster, of Neopit; and 41-year-old Dugan Webster, of Shawano.

Prosecutors say the suspects cut down trees without permission on at least 100 occasions. The saw mills are alleged to have paid about $400,000 between January 2012 and September 2018 for the timber, which the defendants divided among themselves.

The defendants are each faced with as many as five years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine.

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