By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
Low risk and high profits…
From Interpol in part:
Every June and December, we highlight the most wanted works of art through a poster that is distributed to countries.
The Soufan Center:
Police in Italy recently broke up a major international antiquities trafficking ring, seizing more than 3,500 ancient artifacts and arresting 21 people across multiple locations, in late May. The 21 detained suspects – 30 more remain at large – face charges that include criminal conspiracy, theft, and the illegal export of goods, according to a special unit dedicated to combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural property. The investigation by the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, also known as the Carabinieri “Art Squad,” began last fall and uncovered several sites in southern Italy associated with the trafficking ring, including illegal dig sites and operational bases. During raids on the locations, police found ancient ceramics, jewelry, miniatures, and hundreds of bronze, gold, and silver coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. According to the police, the items have “inestimable historical, artistic, and commercial value.” Authorities also recovered excavation tools as well as documentation of illicit transactions in Italy and abroad. The criminal operation involved illicit actors at almost every stage of the process, including grave diggers, “fencers” (individuals who knowingly buy the stolen art to resell for a profit), and exporters (who facilitate sales of illegally sourced relics to auction houses and buyers abroad). Italy has taken a leading role on the issue of cultural heritage trafficking in the United Nations and more broadly.