Wednesday 26 August 2009

Grand Junction Antiquity Dealer Charged

An antiquity dealer from Grand Junction Colorado who sold Native American relics on the Internet is the 26th person to have been charged in connection with the Four Corners "Action Cerberus" Artefact case. Robert Knowlton (66) who ran an Internet-based business called Bob's Flint Shop has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver, accused by federal agents of four counts of illegally selling and offering to sell archaeological artifacts taken from public lands and one count of transporting them from Colorado to Utah. The charges involve the selling and mailing of three items last year taken from federal land: a pipe, a Midland point and a Hell Gap knife which he sold for more than $6,500. According to a search warrant affidavit, on at least two occasions in 2008, Knowlton met with an artefacts dealer ("The Source") working undercover for the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It is alleged that on one of those visits, Knowlton said his collection included about 3,700 artifacts with a retail value of a half-million dollars or more.
He told the informant he bought the Midland knife point from a "park ranger" who said he found it after a fire on U.S. Forest Service land near Telluride, records say. He said he bought "a lot of stuff" from the ranger.The Hell Gap knife came from an area near a southern Utah airport, Knowlton told the informant.The two settled on $8,600 for several items, including the three mentioned in the indictment. The informant pulled out a stack of $100 bills and asked if cash was OK."Knowlton said 'I like that I don't have to tell nobody,'" according to the affidavit.He agreed to mail the three items to Utah. Once they arrived, the informant turned them over to federal authorities, according to the affidavit.
Knowlton hasn't been arrested. Federal officials say he'll get a summons to appear in federal court on Sept. 14. "If convicted, Knowlton faces up to two years in federal prison and a $20,000 fine for each count of selling and transporting an archaeological resource. If convicted of the charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, he could get up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal officials".

These charges come a week after Vern Crites an antiquities dealer from Durango (Colorado), surrendered his vast collection of artifacts after being named in federal charges earlier this summer.

It is possible that there may be even more arrests of dealers connected with this case in the future. Perhaps now that antiquity dealers are accused of handling objects deemed "stolen" under a country's "restrictive' legislation, the collectors' rights advocates in groups like the ACCG will take notice of the problems living in a "retentive" state hold for collectors. Forget Bulgaria, Cyprus and China guys, this is happening right under your noses !

Mike Stark, Colorado man indicted in Utah artifacts looting case, Salt lake Tribune/AP, 26th Aug 2009. Orchard Mesa man indicted in artifact case, NBC News.
Vignette: Near Telluride, Colorado.

No comments:

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