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Published May 06, 2011, 11:53 AM

ND man pleads guilty in orchid-spraying case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Sentencing is set for July 18 for the owner of a weed-spraying company accused of spraying pesticide on federally threatened Western prairie fringed orchids on the Sheyenne National Grasslands in southeast North Dakota.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Sentencing is set for July 18 for the owner of a weed-spraying company accused of spraying pesticide on federally threatened Western prairie fringed orchids on the Sheyenne National Grasslands in southeast North Dakota.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon on Friday said Matthew Hanson of Gardener had pleaded guilty in the case.

Purdon says nearly 200 orchids were destroyed last June when an employee of Super Sprayers sprayed a weed-killing chemical in Ransom County roadside ditches.

Purdon says neither Hanson nor the employee was certified under North Dakota law to spray ditches. The federal prosecutor also says Hanson failed to give the employee a map of Forest Service land where spraying was not allowed, and was not within the required 30 miles of his employee when the spraying took place.

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