Home Interior Design An international effort to combat antiquities trafficking seized more than 11,000 stolen items across Europe last year

An international effort to combat antiquities trafficking seized more than 11,000 stolen items across Europe last year

by godlove4241
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The latest iteration of Operation Pandora, an international effort focused on combating the illegal trafficking of cultural property, has led to 60 arrests and seized more than 11,000 items, according to a May 4 report.

Pandora VII, which led to crackdowns in 14 European countries and was led by Spanish authorities, involved checks at airports, ports, border crossings, auction houses, museums and private residences. The operational phase ran from September 13-24, 2022 and was accompanied by two weeks of cyber enforcement patrols in May and October which saw over 4,000 stolen assets seized.

Artifacts placed in European custody included rare books, ancient coins, religious sculptures and jewelry.

Among the “operational highlights”, as Europol put it in a Press release, was a Roman marble bust believed to represent Emperor Trajan’s niece, Salonia Matidia, captured in Seville, Spain. Italy’s culture protection agency has recovered 77 ancient books that were stolen from a monastery archive and listed on an online marketplace. Polish police seized more than 3,000 ancient coins offered for sale online and Romanian law enforcement recovered more than 100 Dacian and Roman coins that had been looted from an archaeological site.

Operation Pandora

A Roman bust recovered in Spain. Photo: Interpol.

Another major coup took place in a Portuguese raid that recovered nearly 50 religious artifacts that have been linked to a wave of 15 thefts that hit churches in northern Portugal between 1992 and 2003. Greek police also found more than 40 religious and liturgical objects, such as icons. and altarpieces, in a search.

Operation Pandora ran since 2016 and nowadays resulted in the seizure of over 150,000 stolen cultural objects and led to hundreds of arrests. The Spanish-led operation was overseen by Europol, which provided information exchange and analytical support. Interpol maintains a database of stolen works of art and connects officers with dedicated experts who can help confirm, find and identify stolen objects.

Currently, approximately 130 investigations are still ongoing, with more seizures and arrests expected around the world in the coming months.

See photos of artwork and artifacts recovered from Operation Pandora below.

Operation Pandora

Ancient Greek coins seized by the police. Photo of Greek icons recovered by the Hellenic Police. Photo: Europol.

Operation Pandora

Rare books that had been stolen from a monastery were seized by Italian police. Photo: Europol.

Operation Pandora

More than 100 pieces were seized by the Romanian authorities. Photo: Interpol.

Operation Pandora

Operation Pandora was led by the Spanish authorities. Photo: Interpol.

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