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Smuggled Artifacts Recovered in Spain

June 18, 2004

MADRID (AFP) – The Spanish CivilGuard announced Tuesday that a policeoperation in Madrid and Valencia hasrecovered 228 pieces of pre-Columbianarcheological artifacts that were smuggledout of Nicaragua last year.The Mayan and Aztec artifacts – ceremonialcups, bowls, ritualistic artifacts,eating utensils and figurines – are from the13th and 14th centuries, with an estimatedblack-market value of $1.7 million,according to Nicaraguan authorities.The Nicaraguan man police say isresponsible for sending the artifacts out ofthe country was arrested in Nicaragua andcharged with illegally exploiting archeologicalsites in Masaya, Zapatera Islandand Ometepe Island.The confiscated artifacts have beenplaced in the care of the AmericanMuseum of Madrid, where they will be cataloguedand appraised before being sentback to Nicaragua in the near future.

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