Wilmington, N.C. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Charlotte, N.C. will donate three seized statues to a local art museum. The statues were judicially forfeited to the United States government on June 24, 2008 after an almost two year investigation which proved they were in violation of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) embargo against Burma (Myanmar).
The Treasury Department's OFAC administers controls on certain funds flow, exports, imports, and new investment in Burma (Myanmar).
CBP officers seized the statues from an importer who claimed they were purchased from antiques stores he visited while in Thailand in 2006. After thorough inspection of the import documents, it was determined that the statues were of Burmese origin and therefore prohibited from import into the United States.
According to an expert, the statues appear to be made of locally available marble or alabaster originating from the Ava-Amarapura area of Burma. The statues were created in the Burmese style "Ava". The statues are described as a Buddha head, a seated Buddha image which have been decorated with lacquer, gilt and glass inlays, probably date to the 18th or 19th century; and a standing earth goddess (known as Wathundaye in Burma) dressed in court costume of the Konbaung period (1752-1885). The three statues have an appraised value of $5,500.
The statues will be donated to the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.