Avarice and Semi-Automatics off the Aegean

Khamal PattersonUncategorizedLeave a Comment

The intrepid work of Greek police dismantled a criminal ring of armed smugglers recently. Its investigation was a pain-staking 14 months. Authorities believe that the syndicate is made up of about 50 people. Around October 5, 2016, 26 people were arrested with guns, cash, fake license plates, and metal detectors. They were caught smuggling several ancient Greek artifacts, including glassware; bronze figurines; gold jewelry; marble and stone statues; and a cache of coins. Many of these artifacts date back to the sixth century b.c. and were stolen from different places in Greece over a 10-year period.

2,000 objects were recovered in all. The majority of the objects confiscated were coins. Two of the leaders of the ring were arrested near the border between Greece and Bulgaria with 1,000 coins and concealable artifacts cached away in their car’s bumper. The artifacts were destined for auction houses in Western Europe. In the past, the ring sold the looted antiquities using fake provenances stating the origin of the objects as private collections in Europe. Auction houses colluding with the smugglers would help inflate the final sale price for the coins because they knew they were stolen.

Since these guys will have a lot of free time on their hands in jail, perhaps they can study to become numismatists and go legit. They seem to really like coins, but crime really doesn’t pay in the end. Read the full story here.

Photo: Gold Ring by an Unknown Maker, 4th Century B.C. Greece/J. Paul Getty Open Content Program 

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Khamal Patterson

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