Silver City Man Sentenced In Artifact Case

Silver City – A southern New Mexico man has been sentenced to a year of probation for illegally removing archaeological resources from the Gila National Forest.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says James Hamm of Silver City also faces six months of home detention. He was sentenced Wednesday in Las Cruces.

The charge stems from a 2008 investigation by the Forest Service. The agency had received a tip from a local rancher that Hamm was excavating and removing artifacts from a site in the Gila Forest.

The artifacts, valued at $27,000, contained evidence of human inhabitance dating back 700 years.

As part of his plea agreement, Hamm agreed to return the excavated items and pay more than $4,000 to repair and restore them.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.