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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.After an extensive joint investigation, ICE returned the items seized in the United States, and El Salvador was able to prosecute a man and wife who were illegally trying to sell the items, both in El Salvador and on the Internet to buyers in several countries. A discount retail store bought the crated goods and shipped them by train to a warehouse in Cleveland, where they were discovered to contain human skulls when two warehouse workers accidentally dropped a crate and broke a mold containing a skull.The employees notified ICE and an investigation ensued.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 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.
Fortunately, ICE agents are better prepared than ever to combat these crimes.
Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin are an important part of ICE's diverse mission. The agency often investigates leads to art and artifacts that are important evidence of another nation's history and cultural heritage.
Customs Service, has authorities that target a wide range of criminal activities, many of them involving smuggling and trafficking, both of goods and people.
Eighteen of them were done by Heinrich Buerkel, a native of the area. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that the U. has entered into a settlement agreement with the Leopold Museum in Austria and the estate of Lea Bondi Jaray on the civil forfeiture action involving the "Portrait of Wally" painting. In 1997, the Leopold Museum loaned "Wally" to The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. It is illegal to import stolen property into the U. In July 2010, the Leopold Museum agreed to compensate the family estate for the artwork.
The paintings were formally welcomed home in September 2010 after being displayed at the Goethe Institute in Manhattan. "Wally" was painted by Egon Schiele, one of the most prominent Austrian artists of the 20th century, in 1912. Since this painting was owned by the Jaray family -- not the Leopold Museum -- the U. ICE returned an 18th century, leather-bound, hand-written manuscript, missing since 1943, to Venafro, Italy. about returning the manuscript to its rightful owners.