Home builders fined $18K for destroying dozens of Joshua trees

Two home builders in Southern California were fined $18,000 for destroying more than 30 Joshua trees.

The  Hi-Desert Star newspaper says the pair dug up and destroyed 32 Joshua trees on the property that they own in San Bernardino County to make room for a house they want to build there.

Joshua trees are an endangered species and it's illegal to remove them.

The $18,000 will go into the Western Joshua Tree Mitigation Fund, an account opened by the state. Fish & Wildlife documents say money in the fund pays for land where western Joshua trees will be permanently protected.

If they pay the fine and complete all terms, the court will dismiss the case. If not, the district attorney will proceed with prosecution.

FILE - Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California (Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)