Yellowstone National Park treasure hunter pleads guilty to excavating, other charges


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Tyler Johnson, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (January 5, 2021) — Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, of Syracuse, Utah entered pleas of guilty to charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources, and injury or depredation to United States property in U.S. District Court on January 4, 2021.

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He was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 16, 2020. The indictment alleged that Craythorn was found digging in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery between October 1, 2019 and May 24, 2020, inside Yellowstone National Park while looking for the treasure buried by Forrest Fenn.

By pleading guilty Craythorn admits he is, in fact, guilty of the crimes charged.

“The hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure was often viewed as a harmless diversion, but in this case it led to substantial damage to important public resources,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen. “The Defendant let his quest for discovery override respect for the law.”

Excavating or trafficking in archeological resources carries a potential penalty of up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, and one year of supervised release. Injury or depredation to United States Property carries a penalty of not more than ten years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl accepted Craythorn’s plea and scheduled his sentencing on March 17, 2021 in Casper, Wyoming at the Ewing T. Kerr Federal Court House.

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