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Justice Department Charges 5 Utahns in Recapture Canyon Ride

Judy Fahys/KUER

Federal charges were filed against five people Wednesday for their role in organizing an illegal ATV ride on federal land. Among those charged is San Juan County Commissioner.

As a protest against federal control of public lands, several hundred people drove all-terrain vehicles in to Recapture Canyon in southeastern Utah.  The U.S. Bureau of Land Management had closed off access to the area about seven years ago to protect Native American burial sites. On Wednesday, five people were charged with two federal misdemeanor counts for conspiring to organize and participate in the illegal ride. They are San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, Monte Wells, Jay Redd, Shane Marian and Franklin Holliday.  Carlie Christensen is the acting U-S Attorney for the district of Utah.  She says charges could be filed against other people who participated in the illegal ride.

"We spent a considerable amount of time gathering evidence and based on the information we have to date, we believe these were the appropriate charges. We do have an ongoing investigation," said Christensen.

All five individuals could face a maximum fine of one hundred thousand dollars and up to one year in jail. They are scheduled to appear in federal court on October 17.  Phil Lyman did not return phone calls requesting comment.Phil Lyman. 

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