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Probation ordered for Blanding teacher in artifacts case

MOAB — A Blanding school teacher who pleaded guilty to selling Native American artifacts was sentenced to probation in U.S. District Court Friday.

David A. Lacy, 58, was issued a sentence similar to that handed down to 25 other individuals accused of stealing Native American artifacts from public lands and selling them as U.S. Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba ordered him to spend one year on probation.

As a condition of his probation, Lacy is not to enter government property for any reason other than travel.

Lacy was indicted in May 2009 on nine counts of selling, stealing or offering to sell a number of archeological artifacts, including a turkey feather blanket, a basket mat fragment, a female apron/loin cloth, one complete woven sandal and two partial woven sandals believed to have been taken in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

In September, he pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of trafficking stolen artifacts and Native American cultural items. Lacy sold the antiquities to an undercover informant in December 2007.

The sting that netted Lacy was the culmination of a 2 ½-year investigation conducted by the FBI and Bureau of Land Management that named, among others, several prominent community members from the southern Utah town of Blanding.

Three people have taken their lives in the time since the federal operation ended: Blanding doctor James Redd, Steven Shrader of New Mexico and the government informant, Ted Gardiner.

Most of those indicted in what was largely considered to be the largest investigation into archeological thefts to-date, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation.

For a time, Lacy's appeared to be the only case that would proceed to trial, but he entered into plea negotiations in June.

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