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More are sentenced in Four Corners artifacts case

By Paul Foy

The widow of a well-known pot hunter was sentenced July 7 to six months of home confinement on convictions for trafficking in ancient American Indian artifacts. A second defendant got probation for the same sales.

Brent Bullock and Tammy Shumway were among more than two dozen people rounded up last summer on felony charges from the largest-ever federal sting in the artifacts trade.

Bullock offered ceramic figurines and other artifacts taken from public lands, and Shumway arranged their sale to a government informant for a 10 percent commission, the defendants and their lawyers said last week in federal court in Salt Lake City.

Shumway is the widow of the notorious Earl K. Shumway of Moab, who in the 1980s and 1990s bragged about ransacking thousands of sites, including graves, in southern Utah. “Around here, it’s not a crime. It’s a way of life,” he famously said.

Earl Shumway was eventually convicted and sentenced in 1995 to more than six years in jail. He died of cancer after his release.

The federal sting that led to Bullock and Tammy Shumway’s arrests spanned Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Four others earlier pleaded guilty and were given probation.

On July 6, 76-year-old Dale Lyman received five years’ probation for trafficking a prehistoric Clovis spear point.

Bullock admitted he also sold an ancient garden hoe, a blanket scrap, and a fire board through Tammy Shumway, for a total of $3,300. In court papers, Bullock said he received the artifacts 10 years earlier from a brother-in-law, displayed them in a wall frame and wasn’t planning to sell until the government informant made an offer.

Bullock needed the money because he’s disabled after 22 years of working for an oil company, his lawyer Earl G. Xaiv said.

Bullock, 61, received five years’ probation Wednesday from Judge Dale Kimball. He has no other criminal history.

Shumway, 40, got six months of home confinement because of previous drug convictions, plus another 21/2 years of supervised release.

Neither was fined.

“I would like to express my remorse,” Bullock told the judge. On his way out of the courthouse he said, “I’m pleased how it turned out.”

Shumway, now of Arkansas, pocketed a $330 commission for referring the informant to Bullock, and that’s all she did, her lawyer Fred Metos said.

Shumway was a state prisoner in a Moab jail, being held on a second drug conviction, when federal agents served a warrant for her arrest on artifacts charges, Metos said.

Prosecutors dismissed other charges against both defendants as part of a plea deal.

Two of the 26 defendants – a prominent Blanding doctor and a Santa Fe, N.M., salesman – committed suicide shortly after their arrests.

Those suicides weighed heavily on the government operative, Ted Gardiner, who confided his anguish to friends before turning a gun on himself in March, according to police reports.

Gardner made the case for federal authorities, secretly recording more than $335,000 in purchases over two years from people later accused of digging, collecting, selling or trafficking in artifacts taken from federal and tribal lands.

By July 7, six of the original 26 defendants had been sentenced. None has received any prison time.

Another sentencing is scheduled for Nicholas Laws, who has admitted taking an item called a “twin effigy” from BLM land and selling it to the government agent.

Federal authorities say at least one of the artifact cases is almost certain to go to trial.

David Lacy – a brother of San Juan County Sheriff Mike Lacy – is fighting felony charges that could disqualify him from his job as a high school math teacher in Blanding. His trial is set to start Aug. 16.

David Lacy, 55, was indicted on accusations that he sold a woman’s prehistoric loin cloth, a turkey feather blanket, a decorated digging stick, a set of knife points and other artifacts for more than $11,000. He has pleaded not guilty.