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Elko men charged with destroying archeological site in White Pine County

Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 19:39:46-04

A federal grand jury indicted two Elko residents for allegedly conspiring to vandalize U.S. government property, including an archeological site, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

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. The defendants made their initial court appearance on March 6, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carla Baldwin in Reno.

According to allegations contained in the indictment, on Sept. 19, 2019, Pavon posted a video on his Instagram page showing Plata vandalizing: (a) property near the Schelbourne rest stop in White Pine County, Nevada; (b) property in McGill and Lund, Nevada; and (c) rock formations within the White River Narrows Archeological District 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 is a product of an investigation by the BLM. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Kent is prosecuting the case.

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.

NOTE: An earlier copy of the press release received from the U.S. Attorney's Office said that the men were from Las Vegas. They are now saying that the 2 men are from Elko.