A book from the 1700s that a traveler tried to smuggle through Bush Intercontinental has been formally returned to the country of Peru, federal officials said today.
The manuscript had been stolen from the Recoleta Library in Arequipa, Peru, they said.
A man with a record that included several counts of "possession of stolen papyrus manuscripts" had it with him as he arrived at Bush from Peru in 2007. Federal agents had been tipped off and discovered the manuscript.
A court fight ensued, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the man subsequently died last May. A month later, ICE says, feds received confirmation that the book was stolen and it was subsequently forfeited in court.
It was returned to Peruvian officials along with other historical artifacts seized at various airports around the country.
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"The antiquities we are returning today are more than mere objects. They are remarkable treasures of untold historical significance, which provide clues into the lives of our ancestors," said ICE's Luis Alvarez. "Sadly, the theft and trafficking of cultural artifacts is one of the oldest forms of organized cross-border crime. ICE HSI will continue to investigate and seize national treasures of other countries that find their way to the United States under false pretenses."
Also returned to Peru:
-- Inca pottery vessel depicting a man with llama, A.D. 1400-1500
-- Pot with a feline on one side and standing feline, A.D. 300-360
-- Handmade textile and two headbands, likely excavated from graves along the Pacific coast of Peru, made from locally grown cotton
-- Stone jaguar-human sculpture, 1200-1500 years old, likely Chavín or Moche in origin
Total value of the artifacts was estimated to be $43,000, which seems low, but maybe there's a marketplace slump in Peruvian artifacts these days.