Two Arrested in Separate Timber Thefts

Baton Rouge, La. (September 4, 2018) – A Sabine Parish man is accused of stealing wood chips valued at more than $68,000. Following an eight month joint investigation with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, 51-year-old Veachel Parker, Jr. of 77 Parker Circle, Noble, La., was arrested Aug. 28, on one count of theft.

According to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Enforcement Division, during the months of September 2017 and January 2018, Parker, who owns and operates Parker Trucking, LLC, allegedly stole 62 loads of wood chips from a Natchitoches Parish sawmill. 

Investigators said Parker was hired to deliver wood chips, a timber by-product, to another mill in Desoto Parish. Investigators discovered that Parker would load his 18-wheeler trailer of wood chips and deliver the loads to its destination, but then he would keep the proceeds.

Parker was taken into custody without incident and booked in to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center. Bond was set at $10,000. Parker bonded out the day of his arrest.

If convicted of one count of theft over $25,000 LA RS 14:67, Parker faces imprisonment at hard labor for not more than twenty years, or may be fined not more than $50,000 dollars, or both.

 Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) have again charged a 39-year-old man in connection with timber theft. 

Derma Brent O’Neal, who is currently behind bars in Livingston Parish Detention Center on two other unrelated timber theft charges, is now accused of theft in Tangipahoa Parish.

In June 2018, LDAF enforcement agents received a complaint from an Amite, La.  landowner who stated that she entered into an agreement with O’Neal to harvest approximately 20 acres of timber on her property.

Following an investigation, it was determined that the logging operation began in December 2017 and lasted until June 2018. During this time, 19 loads of hardwood timber were hauled off of the landowner’s property and sold to various sawmills in southeast Louisiana. LDAF investigators discovered that the money O’Neal collected from the sale of the timber was not fully paid to the landowner.

The value of the timber is approximately $7,340. Authorities say O’Neal owes the landowner $6,200. O’Neal was charged with theft on Aug. 27. If convicted, O’Neal faces up to ten years in prison and/or could be fined up to $10,000.

O’Neal’s last known address was 20976 Nevada St., Livingston, La. Investigators said he was living in a camper in Tangipahoa Parish at the time of his most recent alleged theft.