Judge orders probation for 2 men in artifacts case

Salt Lake City, Utah (AP) July 2011

Two southern Utah men have been sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to the illegal trafficking of Native American artifacts.

Reece Laws and Joseph Smith were both sentenced in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court.

They were among 26 people indicted by federal prosecutors in Utah, New Mexico and Colorado in June 2009 following a two-year undercover investigation. Two of the 26 committed suicide following their arrests.

In April, Laws pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor theft count. Smith pleaded guilty to one felony count of trafficking in stolen artifacts.

A message left for Smith’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

Law’s attorney, Edwin Wall, says he is pleased with the outcome of the case.