Indiana Conservation Officers served arrest and search warrants on Russell "Rusty" McFarland Jr., 34, Greensburg, Tuesday, July 2, stemming from investigations into his timber-buying practices, said Cpl. Bill Beville, ICO District 9 public information officer.
"The arrest warrant resulted from a timber investigation in Shelby County," he noted. Conservation officers are currently conducting investigations regarding McFarland's timber-buying activities in Franklin, Decatur, Bartholomew, Shelby and Fayette counties.
The search warrant for records pertaining to that activity was executed on McFarland's home, where officers also located drug paraphernalia.
Officer Andy Hagerty stated it is very important for landowners wishing to sell or manage their timber resources to seek the advice of a reputable timber consultant. "Timber values vary greatly depending on species and the current market conditions. If a landowner does not have a good strong contract, it is very easy for an unscrupulous buyer to take advantage of the situation. There are good timber buyers out there, but because of a lack of knowledge, many people are taken advantage of by the less than honest buyer," continued Hagerty.
Landowners who believe they may be victims of timber theft should contact Indiana Conservation Officers at 812-837-9536.