Artifact collectors sentenced
By Journal staff
Four men accused of trafficking in archaeological resources will forfeit more than 12,500 archaeological items as part of their federal penalties.
Three of the men were recently sentenced, and a fourth is awaiting sentencing.
A fifth man, Scott Matteson, 60, of Fort Pierre, has pleaded not guilty and will be tried in January 2010. Matteson faces up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
John Sheild, 77, of Monona, Wis., was fined $10,000 and ordered to forfeit his interest in a variety of items ranging from military items to bone tools.
Brian Ekrem, 28, Selby, will spend 10 months in prison and one year on supervised release. Ekrem was ordered to forfeit 204 items.
Richard D. Geffre, 29, Pierre, was sentenced to three years of probation, six months of home confinement and fined $20,000. Geffre forfeits 7,930 items including bead work, arrowheads, tools and bison skulls.
Elliot D. Hook, 52, Wessington Springs, has pleaded guilty to trafficking in resources. As part of his plea agreement, Hook will forfeit 4,369 artifacts. Hook was also ordered to forfeit his interest in 797 fossil items. His sentencing is set for January 2010.
In other federal court action:
- Robert Leeds, 35, Pine Ridge, pleaded not guilty to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with larceny, aiding and abetting involving the theft of items from the Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School. If convicted, Leeds faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
- John Michael William Caldwell, also known as Jon Caldwell Jr., 22, has pleaded guilty to larceny for stealing a car in January in Pine Ridge. Caldwell is in the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending sentencing in November.
- Nikolas James Berbos was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $250 for being a drug user in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, Berbos lied about using drugs when he filled out an application to buy a 20-gauge shotgun at an Aberdeen sporting goods store in 2003.
Editor’s note: The U.S. District Court generally prosecutes felonies committed on reservations, while tribal courts handle misdemeanor crimes. Felonies that happen off the reservation are prosecuted in state/circuit court and are reported separately in the Journal. Some drug and firearms cases are also prosecuted in federal court.
All charges carry the possibility of fines up to $250,000 upon conviction unless otherwise noted.