Monday, 6 July 2009

Blanding looting case: Guilty plea

Blanding resident Jeanne Redd and her daughter pleaded guilty to multiple felonies Monday morning for illegally trafficking in ancient artifacts. Jeanne Redd, 59, admitted in Salt Lake City's federal court to seven felonies: two counts of violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, two counts of theft of government property, three counts of theft of American Indian tribal property. Her 37-year-old daughter, Jerrica Redd, pleaded guilty to three felonies involving theft, excavation and possession of property from tribal lands. As part of the plea deal, she acknowledged knowingly taking artifacts from Navajo land. Jerrica Redd was not indicted in the original raid, she was charged Friday. Federal authorities say evidence against her surfaced during searches of the Redds' Blanding home. The two will be sentenced Sept. 16.

Photo: Jeanne Redd, police mugshot.


Paul Barford said...

In the aftermath of the guilty pleas of two Blanding residents to illegal trafficking in American Indian artifacts, the Salt Lake Tribune offers a few details about the person known as “the Source” who was the key to the investigations. Apparently law-enforcement officials told The Salt Lake Tribune that he “came to them voluntarily” and that he was an artifacts dealer with "unique access to the trading and sale of archaeological resources both legal and suspected to be illegal". The Source was paid $224,000 from Dec. 1, 2006, to June 9, 2009, for his services.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, especially the part about him coming to them voluntarily. I had been wondering how he got involved, especially since he apparently hadn't been in trouble for antiquities-related crimes before. It would also explain why his identity has been so carefully protected.

Paul Barford said...

I bet, since he was in collectors' houses quite a bit, everyone in Blanding knows full well who he was (note the dropping of the "he or she" in recent stories, I think the journalists know his identity too).

I too was surprised by the claim he'd volunteered to do this. I'd assumed the authorities had caught him out doing some artefactual no-good of some sort and his implicating the others was part of some sort of plea bargain. This appears not however to be what is being reported. How true that is of course is another matter and would need another collectors' Freedom of information suit to resolve.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm sure everyone must know who he is by now. I had also assumed his cooperation was the result of some sort of plea bargain, but it's totally possible that he began to suspect that this stuff was going to get investigated sooner or later and he might as well get on the good side of the authorities in advance. I suppose we'll find out more as the cases move toward trial.

Paul Barford said...

Absolutely, attitudes to this type of collecting are changing worldwide, and collectors with stashes of no-questions-asked artefacts are going one day to find themselves out in the cold.

For example due to the publicity given, and discussions surrounding, cases like this.

The dealers may try their hardest to pretend and convince that this is not the case, but they cannot go on fooling their clients like this forever.

Jean / sandywash said...

Reading the comments made by Blanding residents to the original Salt Lake Tribune stories, it seemed pretty clear to me that everyone in Blanding knew who the Source was. There was a real tone of betrayal, of feeling personally betrayed by someone who had been trusted and welcomed into people's homes.

I spent half my childhood in a small high desert town, and everyone knew everyone's business. Blanding is one tenth the size of the town that I lived in. It seems hardly credible to me that the identity of the Source was not known immediately.

My friend who I have taken through Blanding suspects that the Source was not truly voluntary, but I'm inclined to believe that the Source saw the handwriting on the wall.

Paul Barford said...

I suppose on further thought, if it was part of a "if you do this for us, we'll turn a blind eye to that, sir" type arrangement, the authorities could hardly admit it anyway. After all the whole busines is about stopping turning a blind eye to antiquities protection law-breaking in this region of the US.

Unknown said...

The 'source' ( a professional dealer dealer with artifacts) had to know early on that items involved were illegally obtained. Unless of course he had just come from another planet. Question is not who he is, but how much profit, (aside from payments from the federal government), he realized from dealing with these artifacts..until he got wind of an investigation. All in all not a cool thing for these people to be involved in. But certainly not as bad as murder, terrorist activities, welfare fraud, voting fraud... and on and on. Need to keep it all in prospective. Bad, but not major heartburn.

Paul Barford said...

Thanks. Yes, I think there is an interesting story behind the "Source's" involvement, the authorities however are stressing the point that he came forward voluntarily and not as part of some plea bargain type situation. I am sure the full story will eventually emerge and look forward to learning it.

Um, while I take your point about different offences being of different degrees of seriousness, laws exist. Where do we draw the line between the authorities turning a blind eye to lawlessness which we accept and which we do not? If we encourage a culture of disregard of laws (which are instituted for a purpose), then where does it end? Surely a law-abiding society is not one whose citizens merely do not murder each other, but the definition hinges on observance of laws over minor things (such as traffic violations - the culture of the different European nations can be judged in my experience by what happens on their roads)

If a law is regarded as unimportant then it should be removed from the statute books rather than be left and constantly ignored and not enforced.

As I have been saying to US "collectors' rights" advocates, it is time they raised their heads and said "no", "No we do not want or need an Archaeological Resources Protection Act in OUR country". Obviously if the past "belongs to everyone", then US collectors' rights activists should logically be arguing (as they do in the case of ancient Cypriote and Chinese coins and much else besides), everyone should have the right (like Mrs Redd) to dig up and take home as much as they want, no? As many old pots, baskets, sandals, personal items, from graves and settlements wherever they can be found. That is the LOGICAL extension of the arguments they offer for the no-questions-asked dealing in cultural property taken from archaeological contexts in other countries. Why not apply such arguments FIRST to the USA?

Logic demands it. After all, I am sure they will find those that agree that looting archaeological sites is "not as bad as murder, terrorist activities, welfare fraud, voting fraud... and on and on".

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.