FBI returns smuggled artifacts to Peru, Ecuador

FBI returns smuggled artifacts to Peru, Ecuador
MIAMI — The FBI on Tuesday returned 150 smuggled pre-Columbian artifacts, some more than 3,000 years old, to the governments of Peru and Ecuador, the agency said.
The 153 pieces of jewelry as well as pottery, baskets, sculptures and figurines were found last April in the home of a man after he died in his retirement community in Avon Park, Florida, according to the bureau’s Miami field office.
Experts indicated that the artifacts, presented in a Miami ceremony to representatives of the Peru and Ecuador governments, were between 500 and 3,200 years old, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.
The FBI teamed up with specialists from Florida International University who determined that 141 of the pieces originated in what is present-day Peru, and the other 12 came from neighboring Ecuador.
“These artifacts represent the cultural heritage of Peru and Ecuador. They can never be replaced and should be on display for many to see, not locked away,” said the FBI’s chief agent in Miami, John Gillies.
“We are honored to return these items to their rightful owners,” Gillies added.
Since the FBI established its Art Crime Team in 2004, it has recovered more than 2,600 items estimated to be worth over 140 million dollars, according to the bureau.

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