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Convicted Relic Hunter Sentenced To Jail Term

Petersburg National Battlefield

National Park News

A Petersburg man who pled guilty last year to three felony charges stemming from illegal relic hunting on Petersburg National Battlefield property was sentenced in federal court on March 21st. The judge ordered John Jeffrey Santo to be incarcerated for one year and one day, followed by three years of supervised probation with mandatory drug and alcohol counseling and testing. He was ordered to pay $7,356 in restitution to the park for the damage his illegal excavations caused and banned from entering units of the National Park system during his probation period. Santo was also ordered to pay a $300 special assessment fee and to forfeit to the park the 9,936 artifacts that were seized from his residence during the service of a search warrant last year.  The investigation revealed that between 2005 and 2010, John Santo relic hunted on a nearly daily basis – much of the time within Petersburg National Battlefield. It is unknown the exact number of artifacts Santo excavated or the full extent of the damage caused by his unlawful activity, but according to journals that he kept, Santo excavated over 18,000 Civil War era bullets alone during this timeframe. Santo was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons on April 9th. For more information on the case, click on this link. [



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