Durango couple enters guilty pleas in artifacts case

SALT LAKE CITY — A Colorado couple indicted as part of a sweeping federal investigation into American Indian artifacts looting has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in Salt Lake City’s federal court.

Carl L. Crites pleaded guilty today to three felony counts of trafficking, theft and depredation of government property before U.S. District Judge Dee Benson. In exchange for the plea, federal prosecutors dropped two other charges.

The counts carry a combined maximum punishment of 22 years in federal prison.

His wife, Marie V. Crites, pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. A second charge was dropped.

The Durango, Colo., couple was among more than two dozen people indicted in June 2009 after a two-year federal investigation.

Sentencing is set for August 11.



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