News and Press Releases


November 03, 2010

Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Sandie Rae McNeil, age 45, of Kettle Falls, Washington was sentenced yesterday for illegally removing archeological resources from public lands.

Sandie McNeil was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and an additional $2,000 in restitution. As a condition of probation, Sandie McNeil was ordered to serve 30 days of home detention and he is prohibited from entering the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area for three years.

Sandie McNeil took the archeological resources from the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area between June 2004 and April 2005. In May 2005, the National Park Service executed a federal search warrant at Sandie McNeil’s residence in Kettle Falls and recovered numerous protected archeological objects. The resources include projectile points, stone weights and tools, stone flakes, and a gun cartridge and gun flint. These items were ordered forfeited to the United States. Given repeated contacts with park officials over the years, the court found that Sandie McNeil had engaged in a pattern of misconduct involving the illegal acquisition of archaeological resources.

Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, “Pillaging Native Americans’ historical and cultural sites is reprehensible as well as illegal. It is nothing less than stealing the cultural heritage of our ancestors.”

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) was enacted “to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archaeological resources and sites which are on public and tribal lands.” It is a federal crime to excavate, remove, damage, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on public or Indian lands, punishable by imprisonment, fines, forfeitures and restitution. Protected resources include all archeological remains of past human life or activities that are at least 100 years old.

This investigation was conducted by the National Park Service and was prosecuted by Timothy Ohms, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.


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