GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY: 3 told to pay $340,000 for cutting cedars

Three Grays Harbor County men convicted of stealing old-growth cedar trees have been ordered to pay $340,000 in restitution.

Craig James of Aberdeen, Bruce Brown of Humptulips and Floyd Stutesman of Hoquiam were sentenced for the theft of 30 cords of wood, which was sold to mills. The wood was of a special quality found only in old-growth trees and drew the attention of investigators who found that some of the trees cut were more than 600 years old.

At a hearing to determine the value of the trees, assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Oesterle asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle to impose restitution based on the ecological value of the trees, rather than simply on the amount of wood involved. Judge Robert Leighton agreed.