Seven Homeland Security Investigations offices — including one in San Diego — returned 19 cultural treasures to the Italian government this week, including a 17th century cannon, 5th century Greek pottery and items dating back to 300-460 B.C., federal authorities said Wednesday.
The artifacts were looted from their rightful Italian owners and smuggled into the United States during the last several years, according to authorities.
HSI offices in New York, Boston, Buffalo, Baltimore, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco, with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Italy’s Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale Rome office, seized the artifacts during 11 separate investigations.
“The cultural and symbolic worth of these Italian treasures far surpasses any monetary value to the Italians,” said Anthony Scandiffio, deputy special agent in charge of HSI New York.
HSI New York returned six objects Wednesday including “sleeping beauty,” an ancient Roman marble sarcophagus lid of Sleeping Ariadne, which was smuggled out of Italy.
Italy’s TPC identified the object as part of a collection of suspected looted Italian antiquities belonging to a known trafficker who was involved in trafficking archeological items from clandestine excavation sites in Italy.
— City News Service
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