Utah man gets probation in Native American artifacts theft

A man who admitted to taking a bead from Native American ruins in San Juan County will not serve time in prison.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Brandon F. Laws to 24 months probation for the misdemeanor of trafficking in stolen artifacts. Laws, 40, also must surrender all other tribal antiquities in his possession and is barred from visiting federal lands during his probation.

Though a bead is small, Stewart noted that its removal “was part of a lifestyle that Mr. Laws and others had engaged in that needed to be addressed.”

Laws, a Blanding construction worker, was among 26 people arrested in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico after a two-year sting operation in the Four Corners region. Four others named in the same indictment as Laws are scheduled for a jury trial in February.

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