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Border Patrol agent pleads guilty to starting Sawmill fire

Dennis Dickey will pay $8 million in restitution
Posted at 8:14 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 23:17:28-04

The off-duty Border Patrol agent accused of starting the 47-thousand acre Sawmill fire in April 2017 has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Friday and will pay $8 million in restitution.

In his plea agreement, Dennis Dickey, 37, of Tucson, agreed to a sentence of five years' probation and to make a public service announcement with the U.S Forest Service concerning the cause of the Sawmill fire. Dickey will pay a restitution totaling $8,188,069. He agreed to make an initial payment of $100,000 and monthly payments thereafter.

Court documents show Dickey shot a target filled with the explosive substance Tannerite. When the target exploded, a grass fire started which eventually spread to the Coronado National Forest. Dickey reported the fire immediately.

The fire damaged more than 45,000 acres of land and the total losses attributed to the fire totaled more than $8 million.

His sentence hearing will be Oct. 9.