Veachel V. Parker Jr. of 77 Parker Circle, Noble, pled no contest to one count of theft over $25,000 Oct. 31. Parker was arrested Aug. 28, 2018, following an eight month joint investigation by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Enforcement Division and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office (NPSO) into the theft of more than 60 loads of wood chips from Natchitoches Tie & Lumber.
According to the LDAF Enforcement Division, Parker stole 62 loads of wood chips from the Natchitoches Parish sawmill from September through December 2017. Investigators said Parker, who owns and operates Parker Trucking, LLC, was hired by the Natchitoches sawmill to transport wood chips and fiber fuel, both timber byproducts, to other mills.
After a lengthy investigation, the evidence concluded that while working for the Natchitoches sawmill, Parker would load timber byproduct from the Natchitoches sawmill into his 18-wheeler trailer, sell the loads to another mill in DeSoto Parish under Parker Trucking’s contract, and keep the proceeds for himself.
“While we frequently investigate timber theft, this was the first case we’ve investigated involving theft of a wood byproduct. Regardless, we aggressively pursue these cases and work closely with prosecutors to bring these criminals to justice,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Parker received a 10 year suspended prison sentence with three years of supervised probation. Parker was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $30,317.18 to the owner of the Natchitoches Parish sawmill. The LDAF Enforcement Division, NPSO and Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office worked jointly on this case.