Prosecutor: Suicide Will Not Stop Indian Artifacts Trials
By Andrew Ramonas | March 8, 2022 2:24 pm

The suicide of an undercover operative will not hold up trials against two dozen people arrested for selling illegally obtained American Indian artifacts, the Associated Press reported today.

Acting U.S. Attorney for Utah Carlie Christensen said she is certain that the cases will continue, according to the AP. U.S. Magistrate Samuel Alba set the first case for trial on May 3.

Ted Dan Gardiner shot himself on March 1, becoming the third person connected with the cases to commit suicide.

The Justice Department has been under fire for its handling of the two-year undercover probe that led to 26 indictments in the rural Four Corners area of Utah near the Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona borders.

More than 100 agents, including an FBI SWAT team, participated in the June 2009 roundup of people who allegedly plundered American Indian artifacts from public land. Although some agents reportedly had drawn their guns, the raids were carried out without violence, except for one suspect who claimed his toe had been broken.

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