Man on probation in artifacts case

An Orchard Mesa man who was caught in a federal investigation of the theft of American Indian artifacts will serve 18 months of probation for his role.

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer sentenced Robert B. Knowlton, 66, on Friday and banned Knowlton from collecting artifacts on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Knowlton pleaded guilty in August to two misdemeanor counts of offering for sale a cloud-blower or tube pipe and taking the pipe from Utah to Colorado.

Knowlton offered to sell the pipe, valued at less than $500, to an informant during a sting operation on July 17, 2008.

Knowlton originally was charged with selling and transporting the pipe and two other items, a Midland projectile point and a Hell Gap knife.

Those charges were dropped as a result of his plea agreement.

Knowlton was among more than 20 people arrested in an investigation into pot-hunting in the Four Corners area.

Knowlton’s home was searched after federal agents listened in on hours of conversations conducted by a paid FBI informant, Ted Gardiner of Salt Lake City.

Gardiner committed suicide in February.


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