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06/14/2018
Philadelphia, PA
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The letter, originally written in 1493, was stolen from the Vatican Library and later sold in 2004 for approximately $875,000. This is the third Christopher Columbus’ letter repatriation in the past two years.

06/06/2018
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The letter, originally written in 1493, was stolen from the National Library of Catalonia in Barcelona and sold for approximately $1 million.

05/02/2018
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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ICE returned 3,800 ancient artifacts, including cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and clay bullae, to the Republic of Iraq. The artifacts were smuggled into the United States in violation of federal law and shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc, a nationwide arts-and-crafts retailer.

12/15/2017
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Following an investigation by ICE's HSI New York’s Cultural Property, Arts and Antiquities group, in coordination with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, three marble statues originally excavated from the Temple of Eshmun in Lebanon were repatriated to their home country. The Consul General of Lebanon in New York accepted the return of the artifacts on behalf of Lebanon.

10/20/2017
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the return of a collection of the artifact to the Italian Republic during a repatriation ceremony attended by the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Activities, & Tourism Dario Franceschini, the Ambassador of Italy to the U.S. Armando Varricchio, the Consul General of Italy in New York, Francesco Genuardi, and HSI Acting Deputy Assistant Director Anthony Scandiffio.

08/03/2017
El Cajon, CA
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The day-long event, hosted by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in close collaboration with special agents from HSI’s San Diego office, began with a traditional tribal opening ceremony led by Cody J. Martinez, chairman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation. Symposium organizers believe the session is a crucial step toward developing longstanding partnerships that will serve to broaden protections for cultural artifacts on tribal and public lands in San Diego and Imperial counties.

07/05/2017
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The government also filed a stipulation of settlement with Hobby Lobby, in which Hobby Lobby consented to the forfeiture of the artifacts in the complaint, approximately 144 cylinder seals and an additional sum of $3 million, resolving the civil action. Hobby Lobby further agreed to adopt internal policies and procedures governing its importation and purchase of cultural property, provide appropriate training to its personnel, hire qualified outside customs counsel and customs brokers, and submit quarterly reports to the government on any cultural property acquisitions for the next eighteen months.

06/30/2017
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The Royal Seals belonged to Queen Munjeong, who reigned from 1545 to 1565 and King Hyeonjong, who reigned from 1659 to 1674. The seal belonging to Queen Munjeong is believed to have been stolen during the Korean War (1950-1953) and illegally removed from Korea. King Hyeonjong’s seal is believed to have been stolen during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945).

04/19/2017
Boston, MA
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Boston Public Library repatriated several items of significant cultural value to the government of Italy at a ceremony Wednesday at the Boston Public Library. Included among these items were a 14th century manuscript, an illuminated page from a 15th century manuscript, nearly 200 ancient Roman coins and a book from the personal library of a 14th century Archbishop in Sicily.

04/06/2017
Florence, Italy
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The two-day meeting, which was held March 30-31, centered on the theme “Culture as a Tool for Dialogue among Peoples.” The event brought together officials from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and the United States, to discuss the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, and the fight against trafficking of artistic and historic items.

02/10/2017
Albuquerque, NM
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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According to the indictment, from March 2014 through October 2015, the four defendants conspired to violate the IACA by displaying and offering for sale jewelry manufactured in the Philippines in a manner that suggested that it was Indian-produced and the product of American Indian tribes.

02/09/2017
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations

According to evidence presented at trial and court records, Ijaz Khan, 42, of Sante Fe, New Mexico, was part of a conspiracy that smuggled ancient artifacts into the U.S., including pottery and bronze weapons stolen from burial sites and coins from a cave temple in Pakistan called the Kashmir Smast.

01/12/2017
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Items returned included 296 ceramics and 51 textiles, some dating as far back as the 8th century A.D., including items from the Chancay civilization, which existed more than a thousand years ago in the area that is now modern day Peru. In addition, a Nazca-style Peruvian vessel, a comb, and a beaded necklace were among other artifacts returned, several from the Moche culture, an ancient Peruvian civilization. A 1735 copy of the book, “El Sol, y Año Feliz del Peru San Francisco Solano” was also be repatriated. 

12/21/2016
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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A new exhibit of repatriated cultural property, including paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and vases, recently debuted at the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  Scheduled to be on display for the next two months, the entire exhibition, comprising more than 250 items, is dedicated to pieces that were stolen or otherwise missing but have since been recovered and repatriated back to Italy.

12/09/2016
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) repatriated a page from a 14th century manuscript and a 19th century Carelli painting to the government of Italy at a ceremony Friday at the Italian Embassy in Washington.

12/07/2016
San Juan, PR
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The 23 pre-Columbian artifacts were presented at the headquarters of the Ministry of Culture in Dominican Republic during an activity chaired by the United States ambassador, the Minister of Culture Pedro Vergés Cimán and the HSI Special Agent in Charge in Charge in Puerto Rico, Ricardo Mayoral.

12/01/2016
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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On Sept. 8, 2009, HSI New York recovered a nesting sarcophagus from a garage in Brooklyn, New York. One year later, on Sept. 24, 2010, following leads from the Brooklyn case, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Newark seized a shipment of smuggled Egyptian goods, including a funerary boat model and figurines. 

11/30/2016
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Vallabh Prakash, 86, and his son Aditya Prakash, 47, both were arrested at their homes in Mumbai, India.  Each is being charged by Indian authorities with smuggling idols stolen from temples in India.  Originally from Nepal, the Prakash family settled in Mumbai in 1959.

11/04/2016
Cleveland, OH
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The Master of Dominican Effigies, an important illuminator, created an illuminated manuscript known as Codex D sometime between 1335 and 1345. Codex D, essentially a type of hymnal, is parchment with leather binding and contained seven illuminated pages.

09/06/2016
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist Matt Lamanna played a key role in HSI’s investigation and ultimately identified the fossil as a kind of feathered predatory dinosaur. To highlight this case, the Chinese government loaned the fossil to the Carnegie Museum as a temporary part of their permanent dinosaur exhibit.

06/06/2016
Washington, DC
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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The majority of the pieces repatriated in the ceremony were seized during Operation Hidden Idol, an investigation that began in 2007 after HSI special agents received a tip about a shipment of seven crates destined for the United States manifested as “marble garden table sets.”  Examination of the shipment in question revealed numerous antiquities.  This shipment was imported by Subhash Kapoor, owner of Art of the Past Gallery, who awaits trial in India.

05/27/2016
Alexandria, VA
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations

Three individuals – Ijaz Khan, 42, and Vera Lautt, 56, both of Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Ibrar Khan, of Pakistan – face charges for conspiracy to defraud the United States and naturalizing and procuring U.S. citizenship by fraud. Ijaz Khan, along with Fahad Khan, of Pakistan, face additional charges, including smuggling artifacts from Pakistan into the United States and obstructing justice.

05/18/2016
Rome, Italy
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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"Preserving records and chronicles of our past, like this letter, is of utmost importance not only to the special agents who investigate these crimes, but to the global community at large," said ICE Deputy Director Dan Ragsdale. "Today's repatriation ceremony signals our continued commitment to these investigations and is a testament to our partnerships, both here and abroad."

04/13/2016
New York, NY
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
This seizure follows a joint international investigation led by HSI New York, and the Italian Cabanieri. The Italians traced the Nolan Amphora to a gallery in New York City. It is believed that the Nolan Amphora might have been in the United States illegally since as early as 1997.

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