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Idaho man ordered to pay $2,000 for damaging cultural site

Alan Thorkelson pleaded guilty to digging at the Devil Canyon Archaeological site in April 2017.

POCATELLO, Idaho — An Idaho man has been ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution after damaging an archaeological site in Challis.

U.S. Attorney Bart Davis announced Tuesday in a prepared statement that 38-year-old Alan Thorkelson of Challis pleaded guilty last month to digging at a Shoshone-Bannock tribal cultural site without authorization.

The Devil Canyon Archaeological Site was being monitored because of previous issues with graffiti; court records say Thorkelson was caught digging at the site in October of 2017.

U.S. District Judge David Nye ordered Thorkelson to pay the restitution during a sentencing hearing late last month.

Mary D'Aversa with the Bureau of Land Management says looting archaeological sites like the one in Challis is especially harmful because they are significant to tribal communities.

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