US returns dozens of stolen artifacts to Peru

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US returns dozens of stolen artifacts to Peru
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US returns dozens of stolen artifacts to Peru
In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, one of dozens of rare artifacts soon to be on their way back to Peru is pictured after being seized in the United States during investigations into the smuggling of cultural relics, at an ICE Homeland Security Investigations office, in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, an investigator handles one of dozens of rare artifacts soon to be on their way back to Peru after being seized in the United States during investigations into the smuggling of cultural relics, at an ICE Homeland Security Investigations office, in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, Acting Special Agent in Charge John Eisert, of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations, holds one of dozens of rare artifacts soon to be on their way back to Peru after being seized in the United States during investigations into the smuggling of cultural relics, at a Homeland Security field office, in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
A black ceramic pottery artifact with molded decorations portraying animal and humanoid features, is displayed at the Art Museum of Lima (MALI) on June 11, 2014, in an exhibit that brings together a representative selection of the pieces recovered from a noblewomans funerary chamber of the Castillo (Castle) of Huarmey, belonging to the pre-Inca Wari Culture (600-1000 BC), in central coastal Peru, 276 kilometers north of Lima, from an excavation initiated in 2012. From this discovery, scientists can address themes related the status and power of the elites, the relationship between women of the time and textile production, and the technologies used in metal, ceramics and woodworking. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
A black ceramic pottery artifact with molded decorations portraying animal and humanoid features, is displayed at the Art Museum of Lima (MALI) on June 11, 2014, in an exhibit that brings together a representative selection of the pieces recovered from a noblewomans funerary chamber of the Castillo (Castle) of Huarmey, belonging to the pre-Inca Wari Culture (600-1000 BC), in central coastal Peru, 276 kilometers north of Lima, from an excavation initiated in 2012. From this discovery, scientists can address themes related the status and power of the elites, the relationship between women of the time and textile production, and the technologies used in metal, ceramics and woodworking. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Schoolchildren visiting the Art Museum of Lima (MALI) on June 11, 2014, are guided though a display containing small wooden artifacts at an exhibit that brings together a representative selection of the pieces recovered from a noblewomans funerary chamber of the Castillo (Castle) of Huarmey, belonging to the pre-Inca Wari Culture (600-1000 BC), in central coastal Peru, 276 kilometers north of Lima, from an excavation initiated in 2012. From this discovery, scientists can address themes related the status and power of the elites, the relationship between women of the time and textile production, and the technologies used in metal, ceramics and woodworking. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Black ceramic pottery artifacts with molded decorations portraying animal and humanoid features, are displayed at the Art Museum of Lima (MALI) on June 11, 2014, in an exhibit that brings together a representative selection of the pieces recovered from a noblewomans funerary chamber of the Castillo (Castle) of Huarmey, belonging to the pre-Inca Wari Culture (600-1000 BC), in central coastal Peru, 276 kilometers north of Lima, from an excavation initiated in 2012. From this discovery, scientists can address themes related the status and power of the elites, the relationship between women of the time and textile production, and the technologies used in metal, ceramics and woodworking. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
Ancient torture artifacts are seen on display at the Museum of the Inquisition in Lima, Peru, on April 23, 2014. The Inquisition in Peru was created by King Philip IIof Spain in 1569 and began functioning in 1570. Its jurisdiction extended to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It was abolished by the Courts of Cadiz in 1813, restablished one year later by Ferdinand VII and definitely abolished in 1820 by the emancipation process in America. During that period about 1474 persons were sentenced, among them 32 to death. AFP PHOTO/CRIS BOURONCLE (Photo credit should read CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images)
NAZCA, PERU - JANUARY 16, 2013: Chauchilla cemetery 30 minutes south of Nazca amidst the desert. The macabre place contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts. He shows the 12 shelters built around the tombs which had been excavated. Inside each tomb 1 or 2 mummified bodies were found, complete with clothes and ceramic offerings around them. In one tomb a shaman was buried together with 2 mummified babies as well which were offered as sacrifices. The tombs were all sadly raided in the 1930?s when they were discovered. All of the valuable metals and intact ceramics were stolen. The landscape was dotted with pits where tombs have been excavated previously and human bones were scattered all around. The bodies are so well preserved due to the dry dessert climate. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. The tombs of the cemetery sadly have been extensively plundered by huaqueros (grave robbers). The site is protected now under PERUvian law since 1997. (Photo by Matthias Schickhofer/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
NAZCA, PERU - JANUARY 16, 2013: Dessert gaves close to famous Chauchilla cemetery which contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts since 200 years. (Photo by Matthias Schickhofer/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
NAZCA, PERU - JANUARY 16, 2013: Chauchilla cemetery 30 minutes south of Nazca amidst the desert. The macabre place contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts. He shows the 12 shelters built around the tombs which had been excavated. Inside each tomb 1 or 2 mummified bodies were found, complete with clothes and ceramic offerings around them. In one tomb a shaman was buried together with 2 mummified babies as well which were offered as sacrifices. The tombs were all sadly raided in the 1930?s when they were discovered. All of the valuable metals and intact ceramics were stolen. The landscape was dotted with pits where tombs have been excavated previously and human bones were scattered all around. The bodies are so well preserved due to the dry dessert climate. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. The tombs of the cemetery sadly have been extensively plundered by huaqueros (grave robbers). The site is protected now under PERUvian law since 1997. (Photo by Matthias Schickhofer/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
NAZCA, PERU - JANUARY 16, 2013: Chauchilla cemetery 30 minutes south of Nazca amidst the desert. The macabre place contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts. He shows the 12 shelters built around the tombs which had been excavated. Inside each tomb 1 or 2 mummified bodies were found, complete with clothes and ceramic offerings around them. In one tomb a shaman was buried together with 2 mummified babies as well which were offered as sacrifices. The tombs were all sadly raided in the 1930?s when they were discovered. All of the valuable metals and intact ceramics were stolen. The landscape was dotted with pits where tombs have been excavated previously and human bones were scattered all around. The bodies are so well preserved due to the dry dessert climate. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. The tombs of the cemetery sadly have been extensively plundered by huaqueros (grave robbers). The site is protected now under PERUvian law since 1997. (Photo by Matthias Schickhofer/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
NAZCA, PERU - JANUARY 16, 2013: Chauchilla cemetery 30 minutes south of Nazca amidst the desert. The macabre place contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts. He shows the 12 shelters built around the tombs which had been excavated. Inside each tomb 1 or 2 mummified bodies were found, complete with clothes and ceramic offerings around them. In one tomb a shaman was buried together with 2 mummified babies as well which were offered as sacrifices. The tombs were all sadly raided in the 1930?s when they were discovered. All of the valuable metals and intact ceramics were stolen. The landscape was dotted with pits where tombs have been excavated previously and human bones were scattered all around. The bodies are so well preserved due to the dry dessert climate. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. The tombs of the cemetery sadly have been extensively plundered by huaqueros (grave robbers). The site is protected now under PERUvian law since 1997. (Photo by Matthias Schickhofer/ASAblanca via Getty Images)
Peru, Cusco, Sacsayhuaman Inca ruins. (Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images)
Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Orange/Osceola chief medical examiner, talks about the discovery of what is thought to be Peruvian bones and artifacts at a Winter Garden construction site, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Shredded newspaper clippings from 1978 were found with items thought to be Peruvian bones and artifacts at a Winter Garden construction site, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Shredded newspaper clippings from 1978 were found with items thought to be Peruvian bones and artifacts at a Winter Garden construction site, Friday, May 11, 2012, in Orlando, Florida. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Chauchilla Cemetery is a necropolis that contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts, located thirty kilometers south of the city of Nazca in Peru. The bodies are so remarkably preserved due mainly to the dry climate in the Peruvian Desert but the funeral rites were also a contributing factor. The bodies were clothed in embroidered cotton and then painted with a resin and kept in purposely built tombs made from mud bricks. The resin is thought to have kept out insects and slowed bacteria trying to feed on the bodies.
[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Chauchilla Cemetery is a necropolis that contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts, located thirty kilometers south of the city of Nazca in Peru. The bodies are so remarkably preserved due mainly to the dry climate in the Peruvian Desert but the funeral rites were also a contributing factor. The bodies were clothed in embroidered cotton and then painted with a resin and kept in purposely built tombs made from mud bricks. The resin is thought to have kept out insects and slowed bacteria trying to feed on the bodies.
A pre-Colombian pot (R) from AD 300-360 and a stone jaguar-human sculpture estimated to be 1200-1500 years old, which were illegally imported into the US, during a ceremony where the US government returns artifacts to the government of Peru at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A televison cameraman films illegally imported artifacts, during a ceremony where the US government returns the items to the government of Peru at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A televison cameraman films illegally imported artifacts, during a ceremony where the US government returns the items to the government of Peru at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Guests examine illegally imported artifacts, during a ceremony where the US government returns the items to the government of Peru at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Luis Miguel Valdivieso Montano, Peru's Ambassador to the US, examines an 18th century Peruvian manuscript, alongside other stolen artifacts, following a ceremony at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Luis Miguel Valdivieso Montano, Peru's Ambassador to the US, examines an 18th century Peruvian manuscript, alongside other stolen artifacts, following a ceremony at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC, May 12, 2011. The US government returned several illegally imported artifacts, dating back thousands of years and worth approximately 43,000 USD, to the Peruvian government. Items were found in the baggage of people trying to enter the US, with other items recovered that were attempted to be sold through online auctions. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
PERU - JUNE 12: Relief of a rainbow, Pyramid of Huaca Dragon or Arco Iris, Trujillo, Peru. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
PERU - JUNE 12: Terraces, Machu Picchu (Unesco World Heritage List, 1983), Urubamba Valley, Peru. Inca Civilisation. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
The carved cedar wood balconies of the Archbishops palace, at Plaza de Armas, in Lima, Peru. It is also the administrative headquarters of the Archdiocese of Lima. December 26, 2008. (Photo by: Majority World/UIG via Getty Images)
Pigeons are flying around the courtyard, in the San Francisco Cathedral which is also the museum of the colonial era catacombs. Lima, Peru. December 2008. (Photo by: Majority World/UIG via Getty Images)
A pre-Columbian human skull from 640-890 AD and encased in ceramic is seen April 7, 2010, at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, DC. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials returned 12 pre-Columbian human skulls to Peruvian ambassador Luis Miguel Baldivieso Montano in Washington, DC, in a ceremony at the Embassy of Peru. These ancient skulls were verified by the county coroner�s office using carbon dating and determined to be pre-Columbian human skulls from 640-890 AD. Originating from Lima, Peru, the artifacts were concealed within ceramic handicrafts, and discovered after they arrived at the Miami International Airport in May 2003. The consignee never claimed the shipment and it was forwarded to a general warehouse for auction. The purchaser of the shipment notified law enforcement officials upon determining the nature of the cultural property. ICE launched a criminal investigation involving the illegal importation of human remains. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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DENVER (AP) - Dozens of artifacts are on their way back to Peru after being seized in the United States during investigations into the smuggling of cultural relics.

Investigators from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Homeland Security department held ceremonies in Denver, San Antonio and Boston on Wednesday to repatriate more than 40 items, including 20 Incan artifacts allegedly taken from graves in Peru. Investigators say a middleman purchased those items from local farmers and then shipped them by mail from Bolivia to a smuggler in New England.

A Utah man forfeited two other objects - a pre-Columbian statue and a funerary vessel - after Israeli authorities arrested him on smuggling charges. Those two items and a vessel from the northern Lambayeque region of Peru recovered from a Tennessee business that sells Mayan artifacts were returned to the Peruvian consul general during the Denver ceremony.

"The cultural treasures returned today do not belong in the hands of any private collection or one owner. They belong to the people of Peru where they can be displayed and serve as a reminder of Peru's rich cultural heritage," ICE acting director Thomas Winkowski said in a statement.

Homeland Security helps investigate the illegal importation and distribution of artifacts. Since 2007, it says more than 7,150 items, including paintings, manuscripts and other artifacts, have been returned to 27 countries.

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