LAS VEGAS – A federal grand jury has indicted two Elko residents for allegedly conspiring to vandalize U.S. government property, including an archaeological site.
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.
According to allegations contained in the indictment, on Sept. 19, 2019, Pavon posted a video on his Instagram page showing Plata vandalizing property near the Schelbourne rest stop in White Pine County; property in McGill and Lund; and rock formations within the White River Narrows Archaeological Dtrict 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.
The case was announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Director Jon Raby. 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 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 Raby.
The case resulted from a BLM investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Kent is prosecuting.
To report natural resources crimes on BLM-managed public lands, please call the BLM tip line at 833-660-5771 or email TRFOtipline@blm.gov.