SALT LAKE CITY -- Another suspect arrested in what authorities alleged was an illegal network of dealers in stolen artifacts has killed himself.
The FBI said Friday that Stephen L. Shrader, 56, shot himself in Shabbona, Ill. It happened the same day he was due in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Shrader was one of 24 defendants in the roundup of accused artifact thieves in the Four Corners area. However, his home was not one of those raided by federal agents. He surrendered to FBI agents in New Mexico last week.
"Shrader was released from custody after his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Monday, June 15, 2009. He was returned to Santa Fe, New Mexico by federal agents on the same date," FBI Special Agent in Charge Tim Fuhrman said in a statement sent to KSL.
Shrader is the second suspect charged in connection with the case to commit suicide. A day after the raid, Dr. James Redd, 60, killed himself.
The death of Dr. Redd has brought increased scrutiny on federal authorities and how they conducted the massive operation. Utah's senators have called for an investigation, but the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for Utah have defended their actions noting that many of the defendants had access to weapons and it was an officer safety issue.
The 22 remaining defendants are accused of involvement in the theft of rare and ancient artifacts from native lands in the Four Corners area.