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Press Release

Two Men Indicted For Vandalizing Archaeological Resource

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

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A federal grand jury indicted two Elko residents for allegedly conspiring to vandalize U.S. government property, including an archaeological site, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

Daniel Plata, 25, and Jonathan Pavon, 25, were each charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of destruction of government property, and one count of unauthorized damage, alteration or defacement of archaeological resources. The defendants made their initial court appearance on March 6, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carla Baldwin in Reno.

“This case reinforces the importance of law enforcement working together to maintain Nevada’s landscape, natural resources, and cultural artifacts for everyone to enjoy,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich.

"I would like to thank all of our inter-agency partners for their continued efforts to protect the archaeological resources on public lands that are so critically important to our tribal nations and the American public, including the efforts to prosecute those who vandalize and destroy these important sites," said State Director Raby. 

According to allegations contained in the indictment, on September 19, 2019, Pavon posted a video on his Instagram page showing Plata vandalizing: (a) property near the Schelbourne rest stop in White Pine County, Nevada; (b) property in McGill and Lund, Nevada; and (c) rock formations within the White River Narrows Archeological District in the Basin and Range National Monument. The indictment alleges that Pavon acted as a lookout while Plata spray-painted on rock formations that contained petroglyphs.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is a product of an investigation by the BLM. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Kent is prosecuting the case.

To report natural resources crimes on BLM-managed public lands, please call the BLM tip line at (833) 660-5771 or email



Updated March 11, 2020