Looted treasures returned to Mexico

29th Oct 2012

Historic treasures stolen from Mexico and taken to the US have finally been given back.

Officers working for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized more than 4,000 ancient artefacts when they raided locations across the US. Most of the objects are so old they pre-date the arrival of Europeans in North America and some had been stolen from a museum in Mexico four years ago.

Pedro Sanchez, president of the National Archaeological Council of Mexico, said the finds returned to Mexico range from stones used by hunter-gatherers to grind corn, copper hatchets, statues and figurines, although the majority were arrowheads.

A large number of items were discovered in Fort Stockton, Texas - a town about 230 miles from El Paso. But others were found in El Paso itself as well as Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and San Antonio.

And more than 24 pieces of pottery were uncovered by Homeland Security agents in Kalispell, Montana. Their investigation discovered Mexican Indians had been given money to rob burial sites in the Mexican Copper Canyon in Chihuahua and pass their haul onto someone in the US.

Mr Sanchez described some of the objects repatriated to Mexico in a special ceremony as being of "incalculable archaeological value".

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