Three defendants in a federal probe of illegal artifacts-trafficking in the Four Corners area pleaded guilty during an April 29 hearing in Moab before U.S. Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba.
Dale Lyman, Nick Laws and Aubry Patterson, all Blanding residents facing multiple felony charges, pleaded guilty to felony trafficking, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Laws, 31, faces up to two years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12 in Salt Lake City.
Patterson, 57, pleaded guilty to two trafficking charges and faces penalties of up to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 7.
Lyman, 76, pleaded guilty to a single felony and is scheduled for sentencing on July 6.
The three were among 24 people arrested June 10 during a federal raid of homes in Blanding and Moab. Two other people were later charged in the same undercover operation.
Federal officials have said that the probe, which took place over a more than two-year period, involved an undercover operative who recorded meetings, evidence and conversations. That operative, Ted Gardiner, a former business executive and antiquities dealer, committed suicide March 1 in his Salt Lake County home.
Blanding physician James Redd and New Mexico resident Steven Shrader, both defendants in the case, also committed suicide last year.