Texas Parks & Wildlife News
In the November 1, 1999 issue:


SHERMAN, Texas--Three North Texas men entered guilty pleas to taking
archaeological artifacts from federal lands- following an investigation by
Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps),
and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Thirty-three-year-old Gary D. Priesing, 44-year-old Alvis D. Rattan, and
40-year-old Wayne J. Shults entered their pleas before U.S. Magistrate Jude
Robert Faulkner on Oct. 28.
Lamar County Game Warden Darla Barr and Corps park rangers conducted 10
hours of videotape surveillance of the three men taking Native American
artifacts from an island on Lake Pat Mayse, near the Oklahoma border.
The island is part of the Pat Mayse Wildlife Management Area owned by the
United States and jointly operated by TPW and the Corps. According to
court documents, Priesing, Rattan and Shults were arrested on Aug. 14 while
at Lake Pat Mayse. The offenders were searching for American Indian
arrowheads and other artifacts buried beneath the lake.
The three men spent several hours excavating around an island. In
waist-deep water, the three used an outboard boat motor to disturb and
dredge the mud of the lake floor. Priesing, Rattan and Shults excavated
about 6-14 inches of mud in various locations and removed numerous American
Indian arrowhead points and pottery shards exposed during the dredging, the
court documents said.
Law enforcement officials apprehended the men at the boat ramp. The Caddo
Indian artifacts are 700-1,300 years old with an estimated commercial value
of $940.
Priesing, from Dallas, Rattan from Bedford, and Shults from Keller, pleaded
guilty to violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
Congress passed this law in 1979 to prevent the unauthorized excavation or
removal of archaeological resources on federal or Native American lands.
Each man could face up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
No sentencing date has been set. As part of the plea agreement, the
defendants turned over more than 300 artifacts that had been taken from
Lake Pat Mayse and Lake Proctor. Priesing forfeited to the government the
boat, motor and trailer used to commit the offense.
Archeological sites that are in, on or under the surface of any land
belonging to the State of Texas are state archeological landmarks protected
by law. It is illegal to disturb any objects, buildings, artifacts or
implements in the sites. The penalty for removing or disturbing
archeological objects on state land is punishable by a fine of no more
$1,000 and/or 30 days in jail, Barr explained.
"Be aware that major reservoirs and any other kind of public land in Texas
(state or federal) are protected under antiquities laws," said Barr.
"Relic hunting on these properties is illegal."

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