A longtime Alaska river guide faces charges that she helped a client smuggle a 10,000-year-old, federally protected mammoth tusk out of the state in 2007, according to a Dec. 16 indictment.
Karen Jettmar, author of “The Alaska River Guide” and director of Equinox Wilderness Expeditions, is charged with two felonies: conspiracy and removing a paleontological resource from federal land.
Jettmar allegedly guided an unnamed co-conspirator on a June 2007 river trip on the Kokolik River in Northwest Alaska, during which they removed a mammoth tusk valued at about $4,000, according to the indictment. The conspirator later took the tusk to Pennsylvania, the indictment says. Jettmar is a former National Park Service ranger with more than 30 years of experience in the backcountry, according to a biography on her guiding company’s website.
Her past training in law enforcement on federal land, as well as a section of her book detailing regulations on the collection of fossils, indicated that Jettmar should have been well aware it was illegal to take the tusk without a permit, the indictment says.