Man pleads guilty in Texarkana federal court to taking protected Black Walnut log

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A man who took a 9-foot Black Walnut log from a wildlife refuge in Oklahoma and sold it for $150 after taking it to a sawmill in DeKalb, Texas, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor last week before a federal judge in Texarkana.

Steven Anthony Dale, 37, collected the 9-foot section, which was approximately 24 inches in diameter, from land in the Little River National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, near Broken Bow, according to federal court documents in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Dale then took the log to a sawmill in DeKalb, Texas, where he sold it for $150. Dale was charged with a misdemeanor violation of the National Wildlife Refuge Act. The law prohibits any unauthorized taking or removal of any animal or plant from any national wildlife refuge.

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Dale appeared for a plea and sentencing hearing Aug. 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven. Craven sentenced Dale to time served noting he was arrested July 4, court records show.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Noble prosecuted the case. Dale was represented by Longview, Texas, lawyer Craig Bass.

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