Indian artifact case spans Four Corners states
Federal authorities have charged more than two dozen people and have raided several homes in an Indian artifact theft case that continues to grow.

"It's like a Tony Hillerman book unfolding right before our very eyes," Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah, told The Arizona Republic.

Most of the people indicted live in Utah but the case spans the theft and sale of Indian artifacts in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The homes of prominent art dealers in New Mexico and Arizona have been raided, and some collectors have voluntarily turned over their artifacts.

"I hope we've accomplished a deterrent effect that will have an impact on the black market," U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman told the paper. "We're not talking about trash or trinkets, but sacred objects and remarkable artifacts."

Two people have already pleaded guilty. Two others committed suicide after being charged.

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Looting of Indian artifacts targeted (The Arizona Republic 8/27)

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