WASHINGTON — U.S. officials have returned dozens of illegally smuggled artifacts to Egypt, including a Greco-Roman style Egyptian sarcophagus.
The items were repatriated to Egyptian officials Wednesday at the National Geographic Society in Washington. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said its investigation has identified a criminal network that smuggled and imported more than 7,000 artifacts from around the world.
U.S. officials say the sarcophagus was recovered in 2009 from a garage in Brooklyn, New York. A year later, border patrol agents seized a funerary boat model, figurines and other goods at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. In a related seizure, agents recovered 638 ancient coins from different countries. Of those, 65 were repatriated to Egypt.
To date, the investigation has resulted in four indictments, two convictions and 16 seizures totaling about $3 million.
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