Southwest Colorado Residents Face Jail Time for Disturbing Ancient Artifacts

Two southwest Colorado men are facing short jail sentences for violating a federal law that prohibits disturbing ancient artifacts, according to a recent article in the Durango Herald.

The charges stem from a seniors’ hike at Canyon of the Ancients National Monument that took place in May 2011. Both of the charged men were part of the hike, which was just one of several they had organized for active seniors over age 50. The hikes were three- or four-hour excursions into the national monument that ended at an old burial site, at which visitors could see a human skull poking out from a shallow grave.

During the May 2011 hike, according to federal prosecutors, one of the men picked up the exposed skull to show it to the other hikers. He did not realize at the time that this action violates a federal criminal law prohibiting “excavation and removal” of archaeological sites on federal lands, including burial sites and the artifacts in them.

Now, the man faces ten days in jail for the act. Another man faces three days in jail for organizing the fateful hike.

Not all state or federal criminal laws are well-known. Even the lesser-known laws, however, come with serious penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, community service, and other obligations if a person is convicted of breaking them.

If you’ve been charged with a state or federal crime in Colorado, the experienced Colorado criminal defense attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. can help protect your legal rights and seek the best possible results in your case. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 for a confidential consultation.

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