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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:26 p.m., Friday, March 24, 2006

Big Island man pleads guilty in artifacts case

Advertiser Courts Writer

A 39-year-old Big Island shop operator pleaded guilty this morning to a federal misdemeanor charge of conspiring with another man and taking Native Hawaiian artifacts from a South Kohala burial cave.

Daniel W. Taylor pleaded guilty to a conspiracy alleging that he and John Carta took the items from the Kanupa Cave in June 2004 to sell them at a profit.

In exchange, federal prosecutors are dropping a related second misdemeanor count.

Taylor faces up to a year in jail when he is sentenced July 6.

"I took Hawaiian artifacts from a cave on the Big Island of Hawai'i when I knew I should not have done that," Taylor told federal Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren.

Kurren permitted Taylor to remain free on a signature bond promising to pay $10,000 if he doesn't show up for sentencing. The second misdemeanor count also carried up to a year in jail.

Taylor declined to comment as he left the federal courthouse. But Alexander Silvert, first assistant federal public defender, said his client wishes to apologize to the Hawaiian community. Silvert said Taylor assisted the government and returned almost all of the items.

Carta was charged last week with a federal misdemeanor accusing him of taking the items. He was charged today with a second misdemeanor count of conspiring with Taylor.

Federal prosecutors did not have any immediate comment on the status of Carta's case.