|USFS Terror: USFS Employee Steals California Miner's Property
On March 12th, 2012, miner Mark Hepfner of Sacramento, along with his brother went to inspect his mineral deposit property, known as the Golden Eagle (CAMC# 0280109), which is located on the North Branch of the Middle Fork of the American River, Placer County, Jefferson Mining District. Golden Eagle was originally located by Mark's father, the late Tony Hepfner, who some of you may know was the inventor of the D.A.M. Blue Bowl.
What Mark and his brother encountered stunned them.
It seems that on February 1st, 2012, employees of the United States Forest Service, namely LEO Tom Madrigal, came to the Golden Eagle and stole his property, which included, but was not limited to water pumps, sluice boxes, a wheel barrow, hoses, tools, wet suits, a winch, tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, stove, pots and pans, coffee pot, tarps, rope, and all the other things that are typically used by a miner.
Madrigal left his calling card in the form of a bright yellow sign stating that the USFS had confiscated �abandoned property�.
However, Mark received no lawful notice that his mining incident tools were in any way under threat, let alone had been seized by the USFS. He immediately filed a criminal complaint with the Placer County Sheriff's Department and the FBI, both of which have went unanswered.
Investigation and a short note to the local ranger station resulted in a three page letter from Eric Beckert, Acting USFS Patrol Captain of the Tahoe National Forest, which stated that USFS employee Tom Madrigal had removed his property and had done so via helicopter and cargo net. Beckert also stated that his office had even destroyed some of the property.
Please also contact Placer County Sheriff Edward Bonner and demand that he uphold Mark's rights and that he initiate an investigation into Madrigal's activities. Miners are NOT 2nd Class Citizens and demand the same rights as anyone else. Call Sheriff Bonner. at: (530) 889-7800
We also suggest that you contact the office of Congressman Tom McClintock at: (916) 786-5560 or (202) 225-2511 as well as Congressman Doc Hastings, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources: (202) 225-5816 and let them know what the United States Forest Service has been up to on the Middle Fork of the American River!
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