Two Mexican migrant workers pleaded guilty Thursday in Utah federal court to reduced misdemeanor charges in connection with vandalizing a natural sandstone arch by painting their names on the rock.
U.S. Magistrate Calvin Gould accepted the plea to reduced charges and sentenced Martin Cortinas-Martinez and Ernesto Molina Posada to two years probation, 80 hours of community service, fined them $250 each and ordered them to pay restitution for the costs of sand blasting the arch.The men, both 25 and legal migrant workers from Mexico, were arraigned Monday on felony charges of destruction of government property. The reduced charges and guilty pleas were the result of a plea bargain with prosecutors.
The men were arrested March 17 after the San Juan County sheriff's office was notified that two suspects used gray paint to scrawl graffiti on Wilson Arch in southeastern Utah.
Bureau of Land Management officials said some tourists witnessed the vandalism, then alerted authorities. Cortinas-Martinez and Posada were arrested by an Emery County deputy sheriff in Green River.
Prosecutors said the graffiti consisted of the men's names and the names of their home towns.