David Waite, one of many defendants in a wide-ranging federal case involving the alleged theft of Native American artifacts, was arraigned in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
Waite entered not-guilty pleas to charges of trafficking in stolen artifacts, theft of stolen property and theft of government property, and he will be represented by a public defender.
Defense attorneys for various individuals who have been charged with crimes following a lengthy undercover sting operation asked U.S. District Judge Samuel Alba for additional time to obtain and review evidence that prosecutors plan to use against their clients, according to Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The judge set Nov. 23 for another status conference, at which time he plans to set deadlines for motions to be filed and also will begin to schedule trial dates.
Rydalch said the cases of the 25 defendants will be distributed among several federal judges.
The investigation into allegations of possible black-market dealings in Native American artifacts on both U.S. government land and Indian-owned land came to a head with mass arrests in June of 25 people suspected of wrongdoing. Arrests were made in Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.
Many southern Utah residents spoke out bitterly against what they said were heavy-handed tactics used by law enforcement officials from various agencies who conducted the arrests. However, prosecutors and government agents defended the actions, saying all actions were handled using correct procedures.
Following the arrests, one defendant, James Redd, committed suicide — which upset many people in the Blanding area who knew and respected the popular medical doctor. Shortly after that, a second defendant killed himself: Steven L. Shrader, of Santa Fe, N.M.
Redd's wife, Jeanne, 59, who was named in the original indictment, and their daughter, Jerrica Redd, 37, who was not part of the indictment, have since entered guilty pleas to various charges relating to government and tribal property. They are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 16.