Grand Jury Returns Four-Count Indictment Charging Moab Resident in Dinosaur Track Case
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Wednesday afternoon charging Jared Ehlers, age 35, of Moab, with violations of federal law in connection with the excavation and removal of a three-toed dinosaur track from the Hell’s Revenge area of the Sand Flats recreation. The land is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
A summons will be issued to Ehlers to appear in federal court.
The first count of the indictment, removal of paleontological resources, alleges Ehlers knowingly excavated, removed, damaged or otherwise altered or defaced the three-toed dinosaur track, located on federal land. The potential maximum penalty for this count is five years in prison.
Ehlers is charged with theft of government property in the second count of the indictment. The indictment alleges he took the dinosaur print, which was property of the United States, and converted it to his own use. The potential maximum penalty for this count is 10 years in prison.
The third count of the indictment alleges depredation of government property. According to the indictment, Ehlers damaged property of the United States by excavating and altering paleontological resources. This count also carries a potential 10-year prison sentence,
The final count of the indictment, destruction of evidence, alleges Ehlers tried to destroy or conceal the dinosaur track in an effort to obstruct or influence the investigation. The potential penalty for this count is 20 years in prison.
The case is being investigated by BLM special agents and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. The Utah Department of Public Safety also assisted in the case.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.