Colorado man pleads not guilty to taking fossils

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A 54-year-old Mesa County man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he took fossils from the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area in western Colorado.

A federal grand jury in Grand Junction last month returned a two-count indictment accusing Ricky Lee Armstrong of excavating and removing paleontological resources and then transporting them from the conservation area.

The Daily Sentinel reports that Armstrong was initially advised of the charges last week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He is being represented by an attorney with the Office of the Federal Public Defender.

A trial has been scheduled for March 4.

The indictment says the offenses began occurring on or before July 11, and continued until on or about July 13.

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