WINLOCK, Wash. -- J&L Tonewood owner, Harold Clause Kupers, pleads guilty to trafficking illegally harvested big leaf maple from Gifford Pinchot National Forest located in Southwest Washington state.

Kupers, who could face up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least $159,000 in restitution when sentenced in February 2016, admitted to purchasing multiple cuts of big leaf maple without requiring the seller to show a valid Specialized Forest Products Permit. And in his plea agreement he also admits that he suspected the old-growth wood had been illegally cut in the national forest.


Pacific Maple: Big Leaf and Soft

Big Leaf maple is a wood of importance in the Pacific Northwest, second to red alder among native hardwood species in abundance and commercial importance.

The three men who illegally cut the wood were charged with theft of government property and damaging government property for illegally harvesting the maple trees in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in November and December 2011 and May 2012.  Ryan Justice, 28, of Randle, Washington, plead guilty to theft of government property and was sentenced December 7, 2015.  James Miller, 36, of Morton, Washington and Kevin Mullins, 56, of Packwood, Washington are scheduled for trial January 12, 2016.

J&L Tonewood provided wood stock and components to guitar manufacturers and makers of other stringed wood instruments.


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