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Press Release

Five Men Indicted for Timber Theft Conspiracy on Menominee Indian Reservation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on February 20, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment against five people who allegedly conspired to cut and remove timber from tribal forestlands on the Menominee Indian Reservation in order to sell them to saw mills outside the reservation without consent from the tribe. The indictment named:




Melvin T. Caldwell,Jr.



Arthur P. “Herman” Fish



Chauncey J. Webster, Jr



Derrin B. Webster



Dugan R. Webster




Caldwell, Fish, Chauncey Webster, and Derrin Webster are enrolled members of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. Dugan Webster is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.

The indictment charges the defendants with Conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. If convicted, the defendants each face up to 5 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, and up to 3 years on supervised release. The charge also carries a $100 special assessment.

According to the indictment, the defendants logged timber from designated areas on the Menominee Indian Reservation. On at least 100 occasions, the defendants and others cut down extra trees beyond those they were authorized to log. Fish then allegedly transported the extra timber to sawmills outside the boundaries of the reservation. Dugan and Derrin Webster allegedly received payments from the mills for the timber, which the defendants divided amongst themselves. The sawmills paid Dugan and Derrin Webster approximately $400,000 between January 2012 and September 2018 for the timber the defendants and others removed from the reservation without permission.           

The case was investigated by the Menominee Tribal Police Department, Menominee Conservation Department, United States Forest Service, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Maier.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Updated February 22, 2019