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Federal prosecutors have added a number of charges in the case against several Utahns accused of stealing American Indian artifacts from public lands.

At the same time, a federal judge has ended probation early for Jeanne and Jericca Redd, two Blanding women who pleaded guilty in the same Four Corners antiquities investigation, which ensnared two dozen defendants from the area.

The U.S. attorney's office added eight charges in the case against Joseph Smith, Meredith Smith, Tad Kreth and Reece Laws, which is scheduled for trial in Salt Lake City starting May 4.

That brings to 38 the total counts listed in their indictment. Most deal with removal of artifacts, but the new counts involve the sales of those items.

The four will take the rare step of challenging the government's case in a sting operation that led most defendants to accept plea agreements. Their attorneys argue that the artifacts weren't worth $500 — the threshold for felony charges — and they fought off prosecutors' attempt to bar a dealer's testimony to that effect.

The Redds were sentenced to three years of supervised probation in September 2009. This week U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ordered their supervision ended, saying they had so far complied with the terms of probation. A probation officer recommended the action, though prosecutors were not involved.

Prosecutors last week charged Cari Laws, of Moab, for allegedly providing false information that her husband, Nicholas Laws, was violating terms of his probation. Nicholas Laws was among those previously sentenced to probation in the case.