A man from Telluride, Colo. has been sentenced to six months in prison for building an illegal home and dumping 8,500 pounds of trash in the Uncompahgre National Forest, investigators say.
The man, identified as 41-year-old Banjamin Yoho, was convicted and sentenced earlier this week following a one-day bench trial before U.S. Magistrate David L. West, according to USA Today.
Authorities found the home as they were searching for a wanted man on the Jude Wiebe Trail in May. As they continued to search, they found skis, ski boots, clothes on hangers in the trees, a tree house/shelter, a wedding dress and an assortment of other items.
"I think it gives homeless people, or people down on their luck, a bad name," San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said, ABC Denver reported. "Trash scattered over 100 yards or more. Every kind of refuse you can think of -- trash, clothing, food, human refuse, bric-a-brac, anything not tied down. Literally, tons of trash in our National Forest."
"There's a shelter, you can't even get inside, it's just packed full of trash," Masters said.
Yoho lived in and maintained the structure between October 2014 and April 2015, according to the Department of Justice. During that period, He allegedly transported large quantities of items from the Telluride "Free Box" to the area where he was living.
It took 48 volunteers and workers from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control to remove all the trash from the forest, and they even had to use a helicopter to aid in the effort, USA Today reported
Ultimately, Yoho was found guilty of residing on National Forest System Lands, maintaining a structure on National Forest System Lands, and leaving debris on National Forest System Lands.
After serving his six month sentence, Yoho will be placed on probation for one year. As a condition of his probation, Yoho is banned from all forest and Bureau of Land Management lands and will also receive mental health treatment.
"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," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
Yoho may also get fined, but that matter will be addressed at a later date.