Perhaps 52 year old Utah antiques dealer Ted Gardiner felt the end justified the means and hey a couple hundred thousand dollars in Ted's pocket all sounded sweet so Ted and his F.B.I. buddies began their two year sting. The sting was meant to stop the destruction of archaeological sites and the illegal trade in native American artifacts particularly in the four corners area of the western United states.
So Ted sets up the video and recording devices and the marks rolled in, over a period of 2 years the F.B.I watched as Ted participated in criminal acts including robberies of Native American graves earning his $7500 a month plus expenses that the Feds were paying him. In 2009 the jig was up with the F.B.I rounding up 26 people charging them with felony indictments and removing truck loads of suspected artifacts from their properties.
People who knew Ted were aware of his love of archaeology and native American culture though one wonders if they noticed the extra money on him? The day after the indictments went down it all began to fall apart when defendant physician James Redd killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning with defendant Steven Shrader killing himself shortly after that.
When one looks at the list of those indicted we see not only people as old as to be in their sixties or even seventies but also that they are mostly locals. Locals who's families complained of heavy handedness by the police and Ted became a traitor and an outcast amongst his associates.
The suicides left Ted with guilt over his actions, the part he played and the next suicide would be Ted himself leaving the prosecution without their star witness. The F.B.I.'s case is weakened but with the recordings is probably strong enough to convict the defendants/survivors.
This past week a key player in the case whom the police had removed five truckloads of artifacts from his home defendant Colorado artifacts dealer Carl "Vern" Crites(75), took a plea deal though the terms of the deal have not been reported.