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Press Release

Deming Man Sentenced to Probation for Violating the Archeological Resource Protection Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Quarrel, 81, of Deming, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to two years of probation for violating the Archeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA).  The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Clark Beene of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Region 5 of Office of Law Enforcement and Security.

While on probation, Quarrel will be banned from lands managed by BLM.  Quarrel also was ordered to pay $1,542.48 in restitution to cover the cost of damages he caused to an archaeological resource while committing his crime of conviction.

The sentence was imposed based on a guilty plea entered by Quarrel on Jan. 15, 2016, to a felony information charging him with violating ARPA on Sept. 30, 2013, by excavating, removing and damaging an archaeologic resource located on federal lands in Luna County, N.M.  In entering the guilty plea, Quarrel admitted that on Sept. 30, 2013, he violated ARPA by digging on federal land managed by BLM and removing several pieces of broken Mimbres pottery, thus causing damage to the archaeological resource.

Court records reflect that this is Quarrel’s second ARPA conviction.  In 2003, Quarrel was sentenced to two years of probation for illegally excavating in an archeological site in the Gila Nation Forest.

ARPA protects archaeological resources on public and Indian lands.  It provides felony-level penalties for unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration, or defacement of any archaeological resource, which is defined as material remains of past human life or activities that at least 100 years old.  The archaeological resource at which Quarrel committed his crime is located on federal land near the Cedar Mountains in Luna County, contains remains of a Mimbres Mogollon prehistoric habitation site.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces Field Office of the BLM and the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna R. Wright of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

Updated June 2, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice