Over 19,000 archaeological artifacts are recovered during a global crackdown on art trafficking completed over 103 nations, Europol has declared.
Authorities have detained 101 suspects and started 300 investigations as part of the coordinated crackdown which concentrated on archaeological products and art looted from war-stricken nations or stolen from museums and archaeological sites.
The surgeries were carried out in cooperation between Europol, Interpol, the World Customs Organisations, and many federal police agencies.
Native and Spanish authorities worked together to regain some”very infrequent pre-Columbian objects illegally obtained through looting in Colombia” such as a distinctive Tumaco gold mask and many gold figurines and pieces of historical jewelry.
The arrest of three traffickers from Spain resulted in home searches in Colombia which led to”the biggest ever seizure at the county’s history” with 242 pre-Columbian items gathered.
The Argentinian Federal Authorities seized 2,500 early coins through an investigation of one instance of internet sale, although the Latvian State Police captured a further 1,375 coins.
Another highlight was that the seizure of 971 cultural items at Kabul Airport by Afghan Customs” as the items were going to leave for Istanbul, Turkey”.
Ceramics, historic weapons, paintings, and fossils were recovered while easing things such as metal detectors were captured.
“The trafficking of cultural products is just one of these: it isn’t a glamourous company run by flashy gentlemen forgers, but by global criminal networks. You can’t look at it individually by combatting trafficking in weapons and drugs: we understand that the very same classes are engaged since it creates large money,” she added.
Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock emphasized that”the number of arrests and items reveal the scale and global reach of the illegal trade in cultural artifacts, where each nation with a rich legacy is a possible target.”
“Should you then take the substantial sum of money involved as well as the secrecy of these trades, this presents opportunities for money laundering and fraud well as funding organized crime programs,” he explained.