Informant in federal Indian artifacts case is dead

An antiquities dealer who was an informant for a sweeping federal case against people who allegedly looted Indian artifacts has killed himself, police said, apparently the third suicide among people connected to the case.

Ted Gardiner, 52, allegedly shot himself Monday night as a SWAT team headed to the house where he was staying in Holladay, Utah. Gardiner had spent 2 1/2 years working as an undercover informant for federal authorities investigating illegal trafficking of artifacts in the Southwest.

Prosecutors last year indicted 24 people on charges of illegally excavating and selling the items.

Shortly after the arrests in June, suspect Dr. James Redd killed himself. Weeks later, another defendant, antiquities dealer Steven Shrader, also committed suicide.

"When the other two suicides occurred, it bothered him deeply," Gardiner's son Dustin told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Police said they were called Saturday night to the house where Gardiner was staying because he was threatening suicide. He was taken to a hospital, spent the night and was released.

But Monday at 6 p.m., he grabbed a gun and retreated to his room in the house, alarming his housemates, who again called authorities. Gardiner fired on the first officer who arrived, then shot himself, said police Lt. Don Hutson.


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