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Press Release

Timber Thief Sentenced in Connection with Large-Scale Theft from Government Land

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ROANOKE, Va.- One of three men accused of violating the Lacey Act and conspiring with others to illegally remove walnut trees from federally protected land, was sentenced recently in U.S. District Court in Roanoke.

William Riley Stump, 52, of Narrows, Virginia, was sentenced last week to four months in prison. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of illegal removal of timber from federally protected land.

According to court documents, Stump, and co-defendants Derrick Anthony Thompson and Justin Wayne Johnson, conspired to cut and remove black walnut trees located in the Bluestone Project in Giles County, Virginia and transport them to Lindside, West Virginia to sell. The Bluestone Project is a United States Army Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Reduction project designed to inhibit flood-level water flow along both the New River and Bluestone River. The project’s federally-protected area involves 21,000 acres of land that is a fertile habitat for growth of certain trees and plants, including the highly valuable black walnut trees, which are among the largest and longest living hardwood trees in the United States.

The U.S. Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Baudinet prosecuted the case.

Updated March 24, 2023