A Rapides Parish man is accused of timber theft, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
Melvin Darren "D.D." Edwards is charged with timber theft in the amount of $178,271, the LDAF said in a press release issued Friday. Enforcement agents received a complaint from owners of two tracts of timberland in Rapides Parish alleging Edwards was hired to log the 180 acres in 2018. The landowners told investigators they suspected they were not paid for all of the timber that was harvested based on inconsistencies.
Investigators determined that Edwards concealed form the landowners some of the proceeds form the sale of timber sale.
“Timber is a valuable, long-term investment,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. "It is important to pay attention to what is being hauled off your property so you can be properly compensated. Of course, we are here to help if you believe you are being taken advantage of.”
Edwards was booked into the Rapides Parish Jail on one count of theft of timber greater than 25,000 and released on $25,000 bond.
If convicted, Edwards could receive a fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time up to 10 years.
To report suspected timber theft, contact the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 to file a complaint.