An investigation by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry leads to the arrest of a Minden man.

Agents say 62-year-old Bennie Moore was arrested after a complaint was filed by several Plain Dealing landowners who are heirs to 76 acres of timberland located off of Sam Booker Road, south of Plain Dealing.

According to investigators, Moore's business -- Piney Woods Timber Co. -- signed a contract with nine heirs in which he paid them just over $61,000 in July 2015. Investigators say Moore then sold the timber to a logging contractor in Sarepta, who cut the timber.

Several additional heirs then discovered the timber was cut. Investigators say they contacted Moore, who offered them a fraction of what he had paid the original nine heirs.

There are about 50 heirs involved on two separate tracts. Moore was reportedly arrested on five previous occasions since 2000 for similar activities.

"Under the state's 80% statute, loggers must obtain at least 80% consent from the heirs before timber can be purchased," said Ag and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. "Our investigators take these complaints very seriously and we work closely with our landowners and loggers to ensure that the logging is done in a professional manner. Timber is a long-term investment and we want to make sure that both parties operate legally."

The LDAF continues its investigation and asks the public if they've had any business dealings with Moore in the past three years. If so, contact the department at (225) 925-4500.

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