This coast redwood was damaged by poachers who cut out a burl from the tree. (Redwood National Park)
This coast redwood was damaged by poachers who cut out a burl from the tree. (Redwood National Park)

A Humboldt County man has been fined $11,000 and sentenced to 700 hours of community service after being found guilty of vandalizing old-growth coast redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks.

Park officials announced the arrest of Danny E. Garcia last month after a yearlong investigation into the poaching of redwood burls — massive knobby growths prized by furniture makers and collectors for their unusual grain patterns. Poachers generally use chainsaws to hack the burls, which contain bud tissue that can sprout into a new tree, from the parent trees.

Garcia pleaded guilty on May 27 to a charge of felony vandalism in the case. Authorities dropped charges of felony grand theft and receiving stolen property. Garcia and another man arrested in the case, Larry Morrow, were both ordered to keep out of the Redwood National and State Parks. Morrow also pleaded guilty to felony vandalism and was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay $1,600 in restitution.

As the Eureka Times-Standard reports, a Humboldt County Superior Court judge also sentenced Garcia in connection with a 2012 disturbance in the town of Orick during which he yelled at cafe patrons and threatened to kill them. Judge Joyce Hinrich sentenced Garcia to a year in jail, a penalty she suspended with credit for 170 days already served, and placed him on probation for four years.

Park officials say other burl-poaching investigations are ongoing. The Center for Biological Diversity, Redwood Parks Association and Save the Redwoods League have joined forces to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of redwood poachers. The parks’ law enforcement tip line is 707-464-7353.

  • guest

    He should have gotten Eleven Years in jail and a 200,000 dollar fine, at least.

  • OldWarhorse

    These men have made much more money by stealing what belongs to future generations than what little they have been fined by a too lenient court. Both Danny Garcia and Larry Morrow should be sentenced to something they used to call ‘disruption’ (being torn apart into four pieces) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismemberment#History. These men, and their fellow poachers, have destroyed what would have become entire groves of redwood trees that our future generations will never see. As soon as these poachers are caught and convicted, they should be tied to 4 trucks and torn limb from limb. That should be the punishment for stealing the natural legacy that belongs to future generations.

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

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