BUTTE - A Basin-area man has been found guilty of fencing off U.S. Forest Service land to graze his horses.
Joseph Robertson, 68, who lives five miles northeast of Basin, was tried in absentia after failing to appear at his bench trial Aug. 9.
Prosecutors said sometime before Oct. 15, 2006, Robertson used cable and signs saying "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" to block a short section of road in Big Lumber Gulch north of Basin.
Robertson later excavated trenches, fenced off 5 acres of Forest Service land for a horse pasture and let his horses run free on land surrounding his private land, according to court records.
U.S. Magistrate Keith Strong found Robertson guilty of two counts of blocking or interfering with the use of a road, trail or gate; damaging a road or trail; constructing a fence or enclosure on National Forest Service land without authority; and allowing unauthorized livestock to enter the Forest Service lands. A sixth charge of allowing livestock on public lands without a permit or lease was dismissed.
Robertson was fined $2,625.