A homeless man from Colorado has been convicted for littering the National Forest with over four tons of garbage.
Earlier this week, 41-year-old Benjamin Yoho of Colorado was sentenced to jail for trashing the Uncompahgre National Forest, which is north of Telluride.
Yoho had been littering the area near a well-known hiking spot - the Jud Wiebe Trail - since October 2014. Prosecutors called Yoho's actions "massive littering." The Colorado man apparently did so with items taken from the "Free Box" in the region which is used by local residents to recycle household goods and clothing.
"This was no ordinary case of littering in the National Forest - this was full-scale trashing of the public lands and merited a term of incarceration," noted John Walsh, Colorado U.S. Attorney in a statement on Thursday, Sept. 17.
For those wondering what the "massive littering" amounted to - it was 4.25 tons of trash. The forest officials needed to mobilize 48 volunteers and several Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control members to airlift the litter by helicopter from the forest in May this year.
The day-long bench trial in Durango in front of U.S. Magistrate David West decreed him to be guilty.
Yoho has to serve a six-month sentence in the Federal Bureau of Prisons as he was found guilty on several counts such as Residing on National Forest System Lands, Leaving Debris on National Forest System Lands and Maintaining a Structure on National Forest System Lands. Yoho will also have a year of probation.
The probation terms include that he needs to be placed at a halfway house when released. Yoho will also be banned from the National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. It is illegal for individuals to stay in national forests. Moreover, it also posed to be a threat to public safety, as well causes damages to natural resources.
The court also advises that Yoho receives treatment for mental health during his sentence period. The Sheriff hopes that Yoho's punishment will serve as an example and warn others from emulating the same.