Inappropriate letter to a 14-year-old leads to smell of pot leads to spotting bags of pot in van leads to finding meth pipe in van leads to finding Native American artifacts. And yet the guy was smart enough to have tagged some of the cards with detailed info on findspot and stratum!
The items included pieces of obsidian, a glass-like volcanic rock, shaped into points and clay pottery bowls. Some had index cards attached with detailed information on where they were found, when and even the depth of the soil from where they were retrieved, said public information officer Lt. Steve Brooks of Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO).
Dino Beltran, of the Koi Nation of Northern California, said thieves often take records of what they find to enhance the value of the artifacts. They do their research, looking through resource books and price guides to later sell the items online, at pawn shops or thrift stores.
“There’s a large black market for these items,” he said.
Originally, law enforcement officers had responded to a report of an inappropriate letter to a 14-year-old, allegedly written by Brian Gene Smith. The 41-year-old suspect was standing behind his white van with the double doors open behind a business in the 16000 block of Main Street in Lower Lake when the deputy contacted him just before noon.
According to police reports, the deputy noticed that Smith was exhibiting the signs and symptoms of being under the influence. As he neared the van, the deputy smelled the scent of marijuana emitting from it and saw a bag with pot when he looked inside.
Upon searching the van, he found drug paraphernalia in the form of a glass pipe stained with a white residue consistent with methamphetamine in the stem and a brown substance in the bowl, Brooks stated.
The deputy continued to search the van when he discovered the Native American artifacts, Brooks said. He also found a flash drive which allegedly contained images of Smith holding a rifle and another unidentified man holding obsidian points.