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Lac Courte Oreille Reservation, Wisconsin

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A Wisconsin lumber company has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle claims it removed trees from the reservation, federal prosecutors said Dec. 13. Interior and the BIA alleged Central Wisconsin Lumber, Roger Hillberg of Crandon and Dan Quiett of Lake St. Louis, Mo., were involved in removing timber from two allotments on the reservation. The Sawyer County land is held in trust by the United States government. The federal government alleged that in 1997, Quiett and Central Wisconsin Lumber mistakenly identified the tribal land as controlled by Quiett. In 1998, the lumber company allegedly hired Hillberg to cut and remove trees from the property. A tribal forester reported the incident to the U.S. attorney's office in September 1998. Federal law holds that anyone who cuts down trees from tribal land without permission is liable for trespass, whether the removal was intentional or not. The United States can retrieve three times the value of timber that is illegally removed, and the BIA estimated that the timber removed from the reservation was worth $50,000. All of the defendants denied guilt in the incident.

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