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story.lead_photo.caption Steven Anthony Dale

TEXARKANA, Texas — A man who transported an illegally cut log from a Black Walnut tree from a national forest in Oklahoma to a sawmill in DeKalb, Texas, pleaded guilty last week in a federal court in Texarkana.

Steven Anthony Dale, 37, was sentenced to time served for the misdemeanor offense following a hearing Aug. 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. According to federal court records, Dale has been in custody since July 4.

Jailing records in Bowie County show Dale was booked into that jail Aug. 13 and is still in custody because of a hold placed by state authorities in Nebraska.

Dale took the approximately nine-foot log measuring 24 inches in diameter from the Little River National Wildlife Refuge on land in Oklahoma near Broken Bow, according to a factual basis filed in the federal case. Dale was allegedly paid $150 for the illegally taken Black Walnut log by the sawmill in DeKalb.

The National Wildlife Refuge Act prohibits unauthorized removal of plants or animals from a refuge such as Little River National Wildlife Refuge. Dale faced a maximum six-month term.

Dale agreed to forfeit his interest in the log as part of his plea agreement. He must pay a $25 special assessment to the government. Dale was represented by Longview, Texas, lawyer Craig Bass. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble represented the government.

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