MADRID – Spain’s Guardia Civil seized more than 9,000 antiquities and arrested in the Mediterranean region of Valencia 12 people who dedicated themselves to looting archaeological sites using metal detectors.
Early in the morning, the arrested people would go to archaeological sites in Valencia and Castile-La Mancha to look for buried artifacts that they would unearth and take to their homes to clean and later sell, authorities said in a statement.
“Operation Necropolis” led to the recovery of more than 9,000 pieces of great historical and scientific importance dating from several epochs and cultures, the Civil Guard said.
When authorities raided 13 homes in several towns in the Valencia region, investigators found – in addition to coins and medallions – metal detectors, maps of archaeological sites and items and products to clean the looted artifacts.
Spain’s Historical Heritage Law expressly prohibits searching for archaeological items without authorization, and it demands that any pieces found by chance or by previous authorization must be immediately turned over to the authorities. EFE