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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Pecos, N.M., Men Plead Guilty to Unlawful Logging in the Santa Fe National Forest

Both Sentenced to Probation and Ordered to Pay $1,495.20 in Restitution.

ALBUQUERQUE – This morning in federal court, Kevin J. Quintana, 27, and Kevin C. Vigil, 28, both of Pecos, N.M., each entered a guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully cutting and destroying trees growing on federal public lands. The guilty pleas were announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Aban Lucero, Regional Patrol Commander of Law Enforcement and Investigations of the Southwestern Region of the U.S. Forest Service.

According to court records, Quintana and Vigil were arrested on Nov. 3, 2012, after a U.S. Forest Service Officer observed them cutting and loading timber onto a truck that was parked on National Forest Systems Lands (NFS lands) in the Santa Fe National Forest in San Miguel County, N.M. At the time, both Quintana and Vigil claimed that the timber was harvested on private property with permission from the landowner. Shortly thereafter, Vigil admitted that a large amount of the timber that was already loaded on the truck was harvested on NFS lands.

During today’s plea hearings, Quintana and Vigil each pled guilty to cutting and harvesting 15 Engelmann Spruce pine trees from the Santa Fe National Forest on Nov. 3, 2012. Each admitted entering the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District and cutting down approximately 15 standing trees. They also admitted not having a proper permit for cutting and harvesting those trees.

Quintana and Vigil each was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $1,495.20 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service which will be used for reforestation projects and community awareness to deter future timber crimes. Quintana and Vigil also were required to forfeit the chainsaws they used to unlawfully cut and harvest the trees.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Pflugrath, and was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service, Law Enforcement & Investigations. It is the mission of the U.S. Forest Service to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

Updated January 26, 2015