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 PRESS RELEASE BLM RECOVERS $50,000 IN STOLEN ARTIFACTS 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.