Three more Utahns plead guilty in artifacts case

By Mike Stark
Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) May 2010

Three more southern Utah residents have pleaded guilty in a federal investigation into theft and trafficking of American Indian artifacts in the Four Corners area.

At a hearing in Moab last week, Nick Laws and Dale Lyman each pleaded guilty to one count of violating federal laws aimed at protecting relics on public and tribal lands. Aubry Patterson pleaded guilty to trafficking in stolen artifacts and theft of government property.

They were among 26 people charged after a two-year sting operation by federal investigators targeting those who excavate, sell and collect illegally taken artifacts.

In March two other defendants pleaded guilty to two felonies each. A mother and daughter pleaded guilty in the case last year.