Truckee tree chopper pleads guilty |

Truckee tree chopper pleads guilty

SACRAMENTO ” John W. Clifton, 20, of Truckee and Sierraville, pled guilty Tuesday to a single count of Depredation of Government Property.

The guilty plea was entered before United States District Judge John A. Mendez. This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the U.S. Forest Service.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Ellen V. Endrizzi, who prosecuted the case, Clifton illegally felled at least three and possibly up to 33 mature pine trees that stood on the shoreline of Davies Creek/Stampede Reservoir. The average age of the trees was between 100 and 125 years and the average height was 100 feet.

Clifton has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $70,000 to pay for the loss of all 33 trees and for rehabilitation of the site.

The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Mendez on Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m. The maximum statutory penalty for this crime is 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, a three-year term of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.

The parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of five years probation and 500 hours of community service in addition to the $70,000 in restitution.

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