August 6, 2009

Southwestern artifact looting case could snare wealthy collectors

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Wealthy collectors could be among the next to be nabbed in the nation’s largest bust of a ring of artifact thieves. More than two dozen people have already been charged in a sting operation that uncovered illegal trading in ancient Southwest relics dug up from federal and tribal lands in the Four Corners region. Paul Foy and Mike Stark of the Associated Press are following the story. They write that it was a well-connected artifacts dealer turned undercover operative who helped break the nearly three-year-old case. The informant’s information revealed the inner workings of the illegal trade, including descriptions of diggers in camouflage looting the land by moonlight, fly-over scouting missions, decoy holes and hidden safes.

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