Men admit stealing seed pods from Utah nat'l park

AP News
Posted: Dec 16, 2009 3:31 PM

Two men have pleaded guilty to trying to steal 600 pounds of wildflower seed pods in Utah's Zion National Park in hopes of a payday on the commercial market.

Forty-four-year-old Cresencio Martinez-Guzman and 23-year-old Cresencio Lucena-Alvarez pleaded guilty to felony theft of government property and were sentenced to probation Dec. 7. They also admitted being in the U.S. illegally and agreed not to fight deportation.

Court records say the pair apparently spent weeks in a remote portion of the park pinching Palmer's penstemon, a tall-growing native plant whose seeds are often used for reseeding projects.

They were arrested in September after rangers spotted them along Zion's western border.

Commercial seed collecting is legal on other federal lands with a permit but not in Zion.