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Virginia man sentenced for conspiring to steal walnut trees from federally protected land

Written by on March 30, 2023

ROANOKE, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia man accused of conspiring to steal walnut trees from federally protected land has been sentenced to four months in prison.

According to the United States Department of Justice, 52-year-old William Riley Stump of Giles County was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of illegal removal of timber from federally protected land.

According to court documents, Stump and two co-defendants, Derrick Anthony Thompson and Justin Wayne Johnson, conspired to cut down black walnut trees in the Bluestone Project and sell them in West Virginia.

The Bluestone Project is a United States Army Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Reduction project intended to inhibit flood-level water flow along the New and Bluestone Rivers in Giles County.

The 21,000-acre project area is a federally-protected habitat for flora and fauna including the highly-valuable black walnut trees, which are some of the largest and oldest living hardwood trees in the United States.

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