Texas Parks & Wildlife News
In the November 1, 1999 issue:
PLEAD GUILTY TO PILFERING ARTIFACTS AT LAKE PAT MAYSE
Texas--Three North Texas men entered guilty pleas to taking
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
waist-deep water, the three used an outboard boat motor to disturb
dredge the mud of the lake floor. Priesing, Rattan and Shults
about 6-14 inches of mud in various locations and removed numerous
Indian arrowhead points and pottery shards exposed during 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
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
Archeological sites that are in, on or under the surface of any
belonging to the State of Texas are state archeological landmarks
by law. It is illegal to disturb any objects, buildings, artifacts
implements in the sites. The penalty for removing or
archeological objects on state land is punishable by a fine of no
$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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