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Did Fed Agents in Utah Use Too Much Force in Raids Involving Ancient Artifacts?

The arrests may have made news because of the artifacts involved, but the force used by agents during the raids has raised concern from various people including U.S. Senators.

utah
By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times
BLANDING, Utah — Shortly after sunrise last week, a squad of flak-jacketed federal agents surrounded the remote home of Dr. James Redd, arrested his wife and then stopped the 60-year-old doctor as he returned from his morning rounds to arrest him as well.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar flew to Salt Lake City to announce the indictments of the Redds and 22 others — 16 of them Blanding residents — in what he called the biggest bust ever of thieves who take ancient Native American artifacts from public lands, often from sacred burial sites.

The backlash started soon after, and not just because of the arrest of James and Jeanne Redd.

Another group of agents had yanked Nick Laws, 30, from his home with such force that they broke some of his toes, local officials say. Nearly 20 agents had surrounded a pair of mobile homes belonging to septuagenarian brothers and led them away in cuffs.

Local authorities called the raids overkill. The county sheriff, whose brother was among those charged, launched his own investigation into how suspects were treated.

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