Message #341:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: BLM Recovers Stolen Artifacts
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 96 15:56:00 MST
Encoding: 52 TEXT

From: Rolla Queen



Bureau of Land Management (BLM) special agents, Ridgecrest Resource Area
law enforcement officers and West Covina police recovered an estimated
$50,000 worth of Native American artifacts with significant religious
and historical value from the home of Gerald Wilson, a West Covina
resident.  Wilson, a historical collector, is suspected of looting
Native American sites throughout the southern California desert.

Using a search warrant, officers recovered Native American artifacts,
including a large petroglyph, petroglyph pieces, metates (a stone slab
on which grains, nuts and seed were ground), manos (a hand-held stone
used to grind the nuts and seeds), a large quantity of projectile
points, flaked and worked stone and rocks suspected of being illegally
removed from public land.  Many of the artifacts were on display
throughout the house in specially built, lighted display cases, on
shelves and located with other nineteenth and twentieth century
historical pieces.  The officers also found golden eagle feathers and
desert tortoise shells, which are illegal to possess under Federal law.

"The artifacts recovered during the search hold religious and historical
value to Native Americans and are treasures that should remain,
undisturbed, on public land," said Ed Hastey, BLM State Director.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Fresno intends to vigorously pursue
prosecution under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1979 and
other applicable Federal laws.  If convicted, Wilson could face a
$20,000 fine or up to two years in prison.  Civil penalties could also
be assessed.