U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have returned 14 cultural paintings and artifacts to Peru. The looted items were returned at a repatriation ceremony which was held at the Embassy of Peru in Washington D.C.
The items were discovered as part of five investigations by ICE special agents carried out in New York; West Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; and Austin and Houston, Texas.
Repatriating the items was made possible due to a collaboration between HSI, INTERPOL and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices from the District of Delaware, the Southern District of New York, and the Southern District of Texas. As a result of their work, nine religious paintings from the Cusco region of Peru, a Spanish colonial silver gilt and enamel monstrance, and four archaeological items have been returned to the Peruvian people.
ICE Director John Morton was among those at the repatriation ceremony. He said:
“The plundering of cultural property is one of the oldest forms of organized cross-border crime and has become a world-wide phenomenon that transcends frontiers.”
“The teamwork and cooperation that exists between ICE Homeland Security Investigations and our partners in the global law enforcement community and intelligence world made it possible for us to secure these cultural artifacts and to ensure that they are returned to the government of Peru.”