When one hears about looted Peruvian artefacts, the tendency is to assume that we are always talking about Inca treasures, such as the ones recently returned by Yale University. The country has cultural heritage the dates from ancient times to the later years of the Spanish colonial period however – none of which is immune to being smuggled out of the country destined for private collections.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement
July 12, 2012
ICE returns stolen and looted art and antiquities to Peru
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned 14 stolen and looted cultural paintings and artifacts to the government of Peru at a repatriation ceremony at the Embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C. The items were recovered in five separate investigations by special agents of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York; West Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; and Austin and Houston, Texas.
Returned to the Peruvian people were nine religious paintings, a monstrance and four archaeological items that date back more than 2,000 years. The return of this cultural property is the culmination of a long, hard fight by HSI, INTERPOL and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices from the District of Delaware, the Southern District of New York, and the Southern District of Texas. Participating in today’s repatriation were ICE Director John Morton, Peruvian Ambassador to the United States Harold Forsyth and U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Also in attendance were INTERPOL Washington Director Timothy A. Williams and representatives from the Southern District of New York and District of Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Offices; U.S. Department of State Cultural Heritage Center; Smithsonian Institution; and HSI special agents from the respective investigative offices.
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