Friday, 5 October 2012

US Tour Guide Sentenced Heavily for Fossils Theft

An Anchorage woman was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for conspiracy to commit theft of fossil resources on public land in Alaska.
Karen Ann Jettmar, 61, a commercial river tour guide, was sentenced on September 13, by Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to a $30,000 fine and three years’ probation.  The probationary conditions require that Jettmar cease all commercial activity on public lands for three years, return a fossil bone she collected illegally on public lands in 2009, and make certain changes to her business web site.  Jettmar was ordered to post on the web site a warning that it is illegal on all state, federal and privately owned lands to remove, without a permit or authorization, any objects of pre-historic, historic, archeological, or cultural interest.  The court also ordered Jettmar to remove from her web site anything that could cause customers to expect they might engage in collecting such objects while on guided tours.   
Jettmar has run a tour business guiding holiday makers along Alaskan rivers for ten years or so. During a guided tour on the Kokolik River in Northwestern Alaska in  2007 one of her customers collected a pre-historic mammoth tusk.  Jettmar posted a photograph of this person holding the mammoth tusk on her web site - suggesting that finding prehistoric objects was a feature of Jettmar’s guided river tours. Jettmar herself was observed removing a smaller fossil bone herself when an agent of the Bureau of Land Management travelled on one of her tours in 2009. US legislation on fossils is broadly similar to that on ancient artefacts from US soil. But compare Ms Jettmar's sentence with that handed down to the Four Corners artefact hunters and collectors. Oh well, it was only dirty old "Injun" stuff, not like American Mammoth Heritage.

'Tour Guide Sentenced For Theft Of Fossils From Public Land',  Alaska Native News 1st October 2012

See now: Rick St Hilaire, 'Paleo-Prospector Thief Guilty of Conspiracy to Steal Government Property Cultural History Lawyer blog 7th October 2012.

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