An Assumption Parish man apparently thought he could help himself to cypress trees on state-owned land, but the law states otherwise. So, LDAF enforcement agents arrested Scott Paul Breaux on timber theft and criminal trespass.
According to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Breaux, 47, of Pierre Part, went on land owned by the state of Louisiana and harvested cypress trees near Grand Bayou in the northwest region of Assumption Parish. The site was accessible only by boat, according to an LDAF press release.
Agents had responded to a Feb. 14 complaint about the operation and found "a houseboat moored to state property along with a homemade timber sawmill and a shed type structure on the bank." They also found several cypress stumps and milled cypress cut lumber.
“Timber theft is a serious crime,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. "Cypress is a long-term crop, part of our indigenous culture and vital to the ecosystem."
Following a joint investigation by LDAF and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Breaux was arrested on March 13. He was released on $15,000 bond on March 16, according to Assumption Parish records.
If convicted, Breaux faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.