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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scottsdale Man Sentenced For Stealing Cacti From Public Lands

PHOENIX – On Jan. 28, 2013, Kenneth Brian Cobb, 46, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver to five years supervised probation with eight months of weekend incarceration and was ordered to pay $32,000 in restitution.  Cobb pleaded guilty on Sept. 10, 2012, to theft of government property and a violation of the Endangered Species Act. 

                 “The saguaro cactus is a symbol of the Sonoran desert and Arizona.  Saguaros are protected by state and federal law to avoid their becoming threatened by the very actions of people like the defendant.” stated U.S. Attorney John Leonardo.  “The defendant stole these precious resources from federal lands and sold them for profit. This prosecution demonstrates that such activity will not be tolerated.”

“Our protected natural resources are so important to our landscapes and so well-loved by our citizens,” said Nick Chavez, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) Southwest Region Special Agent in Charge. “We take violations of the Endangered Species Act very seriously”

Cobb admitted that between Jan. 1, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2010, he took eight saguaro cacti from federal land managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, near Wickenburg.  He later sold the cacti for approximately $2,000 each.  In addition, on Jan. 21, 2011, Cobb exported two saguaro cacti from the United States to Austria without a valid export permit.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service. The prosecution is being handled by Jennifer Levinson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER:            CR-12-01594-PHX-ROS
RELEASE NUMBER:     2013-011_Cobb

For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit

Updated January 7, 2015