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Man pleads guilty to threatening federal informant



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A guilty plea came Friday in the case of a man who threatened an undercover federal informant.

Charles Denton Armstrong, of Blanding, pleaded guilty to retaliation against an informant in U.S. district court. The charge is a felony--something federal prosecutors take seriously.

"Obviously, we take any kind of threat against a witness or informant witness or anyone involved in a judicial proceeding very seriously, because it strikes at the heart of our justice system," said U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen.

Armstrong was arrested a few weeks after the government's artifacts bust in the Four Corners area last summer.

An undercover informant, labeled the "source" in court documents, had worked for years to build a case against 26 people. All those charged are accused of trafficking and dealing in precious American Indian artifacts, uncovered on Federal and tribal land.

After the arrests, one of those charged, Dr. James Redd, committed suicide. Armstrong made statements that he would "take care of" that undercover informant and get even with a baseball bat.

Armstrong's lawyer told reporters off camera that Armstrong was upset at the time. Attorney Lynn Donaldson said Armstrong was heavily medicated at the time, but would not have gone through with the crime.

"He was charged based on the threats he made. I don't know whether he would have carried them out," Christensen said.

After the plea, KSL News asked Armstrong was sorry for making the threat. Donaldson simply said, "of course."

As part of the deal, Armstrong is expected to serve a year in prison when he is sentenced in February. That's a far cry from the 20 years he might have served if a jury had found him guilty.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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Richard Piatt

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