For Immediate Release
February 6, 2008
Jim Maloney, BLM
Vanessa Delgado, BLM
Two Men Plead Guilty to Defacing Cultural Artifacts on BLM Land
Gand Junction, Colo. – On Monday two men pled guilty for defacing cultural artifacts on federal land dating back several hundred years. Each face $1,100 in fines and $2,625 in restitution to repair the damages.
A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger from the Uncompahgre Field Office cited Sergio Corona-Venzor, 41, of Montrose, Colo. and Oscar Ortega, 41, of Delta, Colo. in July 2008. The men had carved their names above the date on an Anasazi rock art panel. The petroglyph, known as the Roc Creek Rock Art Panel # 1, was created by the Anasazi’s between 1000 to 1200 A.D. and is located on BLM land south of Gateway, Colo.
The men appeared before the U.S. Magistrate Judge in Grand Junction and plead guilty under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act.
The Uncompahgre ranger, with help from the Grand Junction Field Office ranger, discovered the identity of the defendants, who were employed on an adjacent ranch from where the petroglyph is located. Both men provided a full confession, but stated that this type of activity is not a crime in their home-land of Mexico.
The BLM is the steward for the largest body of cultural resources in the nation. It’s estimated that the vast and often remote expanses of public lands in the West contain more than 4 million archeological sites alone. There is much yet to be discovered and their protection is up to every visitor. In Colorado, BLM lands have some 40,000 recorded sites with about 7 percent inventoried.