Johannesburg - A treasure hunter who illegally dug in Yellowstone National Park in search of a hidden chest was sentenced to six months in jail on Wednesday, officials said.
Rodrick Dow Craythorn did not find the fortune of Forrest Fenn, named after a New Mexico art dealer who hid a rumor that cost millions a decade ago and left clues as to where he was in the poem.
The 52-year-old Utah man damaged the Fort Yellowstone cemetery, including a historic cemetery, the U.S. Attorney General's Office said. Wyoming County.
Craythorn was sentenced to six months in prison, six months in prison and ordered to pay $ 31,566 in restitution, the office said.
He pleaded guilty in January to digging or smuggling natural resources and damaging or reducing U.S. property.
Through his lawyer, Craythorn apologized to the National Park Service and to the American people. He is expected to surrender in May to begin his sentence.
"At the National Park Service, the people of the United States and my family, I am very sorry. I am encouraged by the joy that I may have found, and my determination overshadowed my decision," Craythorn said in a statement.
"After my time in prison, I intend to fully recover. I just hope that my case will serve as a reminder to the people that we must respect the National Park and the laws that were enacted to protect them," he said.
Forrest Fenn's treasure hunt has attracted thousands. Fenn hid a chest of gold and precious stones sometime between 2009 and 2010, leaving the searchers nine tracks in his poem, "The Thrill of the Chase."
The treasure was discovered in June in Wyoming but the recipient, identified as a Michigan medical student, did not say exactly where he was. Fenn died in September.
Craythorn excavated at Fort Yellowstone National Historic Landmark Cemetery between October 2019 and May 24, 2020, according to the case.
The Rangers have identified 17 mines, including damage to a historic cemetery, the U.S. attorney general said.
"National Park is not a place for hunting for adults motivated by greed," said Bob Murray, acting U.S. attorney. "Mr. Craythorn's damaging actions, no matter what the cause or intent, have destroyed important archeological resources."
Fort Yellowstone was built in the park after the Society was deployed to pursue poaching, monumental hunting and other destructive activities after a national park established by Congress in 1872, according to a park service.
The military remained in the park until 1918 when operations were transferred to the National Park Service, which was established by Congress two years ago.
At least 54 people, mostly civilians serving in the War or military families, were buried in the cemetery between 1888 and 1916.
Sarah Davis, chief of Yellowstone National Park, called the offense "horrific" and said Craythorn's sentence "sent a clear message that these types of cases will be brutally investigated and prosecuted."
Before Forrest Fenn's wealth was discovered, many people died in search of it. In 2017, a New Mexico state police chief urged people not to hunt, citing the dangers involved.