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SALT LAKE CITY -- The man accused of threatening to harm the FBI's confidential informant in a massive artifacts theft case will remain in jail.
During an appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells ordered Charles Denton Armstrong, 44, to remain in jail. Court records said the judge ordered the Blanding man to be held because of a criminal history and a danger he presents in the pending artifacts theft case.
Armstrong was charged with retaliating against an informant. He is accused of threatening to hurt the FBI's confidential source that helped authorities charge 25 people in connection with the theft of ancient Indian artifacts from public and tribal lands in the Four Corners area. The case is considered the largest of its kind in the nation.
According to charging documents, Armstrong said he would tie the informant to a tree and beat him with a baseball bat. He repeated the threat to federal agents, authorities said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah has said it plans to seek a grand jury indictment against Armstrong. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison, if convicted.
FBI agents have told KSL NewsRadio they are taking steps to protect their informant, who may be a witness in any upcoming trials for some of the defendants. The informant wore a wire and caught many of the alleged crimes on tape.
Two defendants -- Jeanne Redd and her daughter, Jerrica -- have already struck plea deals with prosecutors. Jeanne Redd's husband, Dr. James Redd, 60, committed suicide the day after he was charged. Another defendant, Stephen Shrader, 56, also killed himself.
A dawn raid in the Four Corners area that resulted in the bulk of arrests has led to some criticism of federal tactics utilized.
Armstrong is due back in court on July 23.