Guardia Civil Arrest Two People Involved With Theft Of 119 Archaeological Pieces

Valuable artefacts recovered by Guardia Civil

Roman sculpture recovered. Credit: Guardia

A crackdown on the theft of Archaeological artefacts has successfully retrieved important pieces of cultural significance and resulted in numerous arrests.

As part of Platina/Operation Pandora VII, led by the Guardia Civil, a total of 119 cultural assets have been recovered, along with two people being arrested, it was revealed yesterday, Monday, June 26.

The two suspects kept a hoard of archaeological pieces in several buildings in the town of Baena, Córdoba, which were ready for sale on the black market. One of the stand-out pieces was a Roman female bust portrait in marble, hailed as a unique and absolutely exceptional piece.

Sevilla’s Guardia Civil led the Plotina operation, with the arrest of 2 people who are charged with crimes against Historical Heritage, and the recovery of 119 extraordinarily valuable archaeological pieces.

This operation was part of the bigger international operation led by the Civil Guard called Pandora VII, which, with the support of Europol and Interpol, had 60 people arrested, 237 investigated and an incredible 11,049 cultural assets seized.

Operation Plotina

The two people arrested in Sevilla are a married couple with existing police records who were involved in trading cultural goods on the black market. The lengthy investigation involved many interviews with sources, collectors, attendance at art trade forums, and regular inspections of premises involved in the sale of cultural property.

The couple received huge monetary benefits from the illegal trade while they led a seemingly normal life, without any extravagancies. They acted at different times of the day so as not to arouse suspicion and in order to introduce the stolen goods into the black market.

After several intense months, a storage room was located in the town of Baena, Córdoba, where some of the looted archaeological pieces were stored, which led to the arrest of the two people.

The illegal hoard covered many types of artefacts including exceptional sculptures, and architectural elements to extremely rare ancient Greek, Ibero-Roman and Roman coins.

The most spectacular piece recovered is the Roman female marble portrait bust, a private portrait from the first third of the second century. It is an exceptional piece of similar artistic quality to those exhibited in great museums such as the Louvre.

Two expert archaeologists from the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba collaborated with police during the investigation. The pieces have now been transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba where they remain for their conservation and expert analysis.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.