ALBANY — Eddie Lee Ballard was indicted on 70 separate charges by the Dougherty County Grand Jury Wednesday, all associated with the alleged theft of arrowheads and other Native American artifacts.
Ballard, 37 at the time of his arrest, received 11 indictments for criminal trespass, 48 for unlawful activity at an archeological site, ten for theft by taking and one indictment for obstruction of an officer.
Ballard was jailed June 5 on warrants filed by Georgia Department of Natural Resources and held on a $58,000 bond. Capt. Jeff Swift with the Dougherty County Police Department told The Albany Herald that Ballard’s arrest had been the culmination a year-long investigation into a huge operation to excavate valuable Native American artifacts on private and state property and sell them for thousands of dollars.
The warrant application filed with the Magistrate Court of Dougherty County stated that DNR rangers witnessed Ballard digging on land belonging to Georgia Power Co. and Flint Rock Properties several times between March 22, 2011 and the the day Ballard was arrested.
“This is a large problem,” Swift told the Herald after Ballard’s arrest. “People need to know that they can’t go collect artifacts on other people’s property without permission.”
In a separate case, Paul Eric Tuten was indicted on two counts of obscene Internet contact with a child, one count of sexual exploitation of children and 10 counts of criminal attempt to electronically furnish obscene material to minors.
Tuten had been arrested in Sept. 2011 along with Daxesh Amin after chatting online with who police said the two thought was a 13-year-old girl named “Nikki.” In truth, their conversation had been with Chad Kirkpatrick with the Dougherty County Police Dept., the indictment states. In the indictment, Tuten is accused of having a conversation with a female child who he knew”was under 16 years of age with the intent of arousing and satisfying the sexual desire of himself and the child.
Numerous statements and questions alleged by the indictment to be obscene were listed as having been conveyed to Kirkpatrick in his guise as “Nikki.”
Shawn Wesley Fulton and Danielle Fulton Otey (aka Daniel Otey-Fulton) were also indicted Wednesday. Each was indicted with one count of trafficking in cocaine, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, one count of possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, one count of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, three counts on illegal substances within 1,000 feet of a park, three counts of possession of tools for the commission of a crime and one count of reckless conduct.