- Associated Press - Thursday, April 13, 2017

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas man has pleaded guilty to illegally excavating prehistoric bluff shelters in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest.

David Tudor, 59, pleaded guilty Wednesday under a plea agreement that calls for him to pay the U.S. Forest Service nearly $12,500 in restitution, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2paThI0 ) reported. Tudor will also have to forfeit more than 2,800 artifacts that were confiscated from his home by authorities.

Tudor faces a maximum sentence of a year in prison and may be charged a $100,000 fine when sentenced.

Court documents allege that federal agents used hidden cameras for several months in 2015 to monitor Tudor while he dug for arrowheads and other artifacts in the national forest near his home. Investigators moved the cameras to correspond with Tudor’s social media posts.

“Tudor has been posting apparently new artifact finds most every week on his Instagram site during the scope of my investigation,” Morgan Amos, a criminal investigator with the U.S. Forest Service, wrote in an affidavit.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 prohibits the excavation of artifacts from federal lands without a permit. It says all artifacts excavated from federal lands are the property of the United States.

According to the affidavit, permits to excavate prehistoric sites in the national forest are only granted to people with professional archaeological credentials who submit an artifact curation plan.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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