SUMTER, SC (WCBD) – United States Customs and Border Protection officials have seized a shipment containing 13 pieces of 10th-century artifacts while being transported to South Carolina.
The shipment was coming from Mexico and heading for a residence in Sumter, South Carolina, when it was intercepted by authorities in Louisville, KY.
The collection included a skull and 12 chopping tools.
CBP agents say an “subject matter expert” in the ancient Americas determined the collection dated from the post-classical era to the Aztec era, AD 1100-1532, according to a press release.
“I am extremely proud that our officers were able to prevent the loss of invaluable artifacts forever,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director of field operations in the Chicago field office. âCustoms and border protection will continue to use our border authority to identify and rescue valuable antiques smuggled by those who profit from the theft of historical and cultural property and return them to their rightful owners. “
Most countries have laws that protect cultural property, which include artefacts, antiquities or other archaeological and ethnological material.
âThese laws include export controls and national ownership of cultural property. Therefore, although they do not necessarily confer ownership, consignees or importers must have documents such as export permits and receipts when importing such items into the United States, âsaid the CBP.
The Department of Homeland Security enforces restrictions on the importation of cultural property agreed to in bilateral agreements that the United States has concluded with 20 countries and through emergency import restrictions for three other countries.
CBP has recorded 21 seizures of cultural property with a national value of more than $ 18 million since the start of 2020.