What is new about it is how easy it is for cultural pirates to acquire valuable antiquities, artworks and artifacts, fossils, coins or textiles and move them around the globe, swiftly, easily and inexpensively without regard to laws, borders, nationalities or their value to a nation’s heritage.
ICE and the National Civilian Police of El Salvador confiscated the artifacts while working together in their first joint investigation, which started after the items were discovered listed for sale on an Internet auction site. In 2003 they had been part of a shipment of what appeared to be ceramics that traveled by plane from Peru for a customer in Miami.
A CBP officer in Miami intercepted the items in 2007, when what appeared to be pre-Columbian artifacts were being shipped to Alabama. The shipment, labeled "gifts," went unclaimed and was auctioned off as pottery.
The paintings were taken from the museum during World War II. An ICE agent tracked the remaining few to friends of the family. military forces and turned over to the government-owned Austrian National Gallery in Belvedere Palace.
These 11 paintings were among 40 missing works from the Pirmasen Municipal Museum's collection. In 1994, "Wally" became part of the newly-formed Leopold Museum.
ICE was able to track the sale of the sarcophagus to a U. citizen, who was neither an art dealer nor a broker.
Due to the absence of a credible provenance, the item was seized and returned to Egypt in accordance with its Cultural Patrimony Laws.
On March 24, 2010, ICE returned a 20th century oil painting that was stolen in 1989 from the Marlborough Art Gallery in Manhattan to the Art Loss Register.
"Bildnis in der Laube" (Portrait in the Garden, 1930) was created by Paul Klee, an internationally acclaimed Swiss painter of German origin who painted more than 500 works of art.
ICE handled the investigation and ultimately seized the Paleozoic-era fossils.
Authenticators said the fossils came from the oldest deposit of soft tissues of animals anywhere in the world.
The items include two Peruvian terracotta vessels from the period A. The bookmark had been stolen during a break-in at an art auction house in Madrid, Spain.