A joint investigation by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF, and the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the arrest of a Jena, LA, man for felony timber theft charges.
James Marcus Ainsworth, 39, of 254 Joiner Road, Jena, LA, was arrested Thursday morning, September 11, 2014 by forestry agents. He was booked into the LaSalle Parish Jail on one count of felony timber theft of more than $10,400.
Investigators say a complaint was filed by a Jena couple who hired Ainsworth to log their property in August 2013. The landowners were paid $2,600 for nine loads of timber, which was much less than they were promised.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “Our investigators were able to recover records from three different mills that showed 16 loads of timber had been cut off the property. These loads had the landowner’s name listed on the load tickets.”
In a separate incident, 60-year-old Dennis Price of 1638 E. Westmoreland Road, Kentwood, LA, was arrested September 7, 2014 and booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail for the sale of forest products with failure to remit payment to owner.
Investigators said they were contacted by the victim after Price performed a logging operation during the time period of March 18-April 9, 2014. Investigators determined the victim was not fully compensated in the amount of $4,999.82 for timber harvested from the victim’s property.
Price’s bond was set at $75,000. Authorities say he has bonded out of jail.
Landowners who have done business with Ainsworth or Price in the past two years and who feel they may not have been fully compensated for their timber are asked to contact the LDAF office at 225-925-4500.