Indiana Conservation Officers arrested a Harrison County couple on the evening of April 4 after they were caught illegally digging for artifacts along the Ohio River.
James Schuppert, age 56, and Diana Hutchinson, age 50, both of Central, face multiple charges, including DNR archaeological violations, methamphetamine manufacturing, illegal ginseng possession, and illegal wildlife possession.
Officers had received numerous reports of illegal archaeological digging and criminal trespass along the banks of the Ohio River in recent weeks and stepped up patrols. Thursday afternoon, Officer Jim Schreck observed a suspicious vehicle parked in a field outside of Mauckport, and began a foot search along the riverbank.
During the search, the suspects returned to their vehicle and left the area. Shortly afterward, Indiana Conservation Officers Paul Crockett, Zac Howerton, Cpl. Mick Rutherford, and Schreck located the vehicle at Schuppert’s residence, and investigated.
After obtaining a search warrant, officers located a meth lab, drugs and paraphernalia, illegally possessed ginseng, box turtle parts, and a large amount of archaeological artifacts. The artifacts included arrowheads and stone tools/implements, some of which are suspected to have been illegally excavated and/or stolen from landowners.
Schuppert and Hutchinson were arrested at their residence without incident. Members of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section assisted at the scene.
For more information on Indiana’s archaeology program, follow this link: dnr. IN.gov/historic/2809.htm
All charges are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.