← Italy awaits biggest ever trial of tomb robbers. Operation Ghelas has uncovered ROME. Operation Ghelas, which has dismantled a major Italian antiquities smuggling operation stretching across Western Europe, will come to a climax in February when 70 defendants are brought before a judge for a preliminary hearing in Gela, southwest Sicily. The investigation, carried out by the Italian Cultural Patrimony Protection (TPC) squad, concluded last summer with an unprecedented 85 indictments and 52 arrests—the biggest bust ever of the tombaroli (“tomb raiders”). A ring stretching across western Europe.