MIAMI — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport recently intercepted two separate shipments containing ancient artifacts from Europe and Central America.
One of the shipments sent from the United Kingdom had been manifested as having a value of $252,000. Upon opening the wooden cargo container, what appeared to be a helmet was discovered. The item appeared to be an antique possibly dating back to ancient times.
The shipment documentation appeared incomplete and similar items have been deemed authentic and repatriated in the past. An expert appraiser was consulted and determined the item to be an authentic "Corinthian Helmet" dating back to 100-500 B.C.
CBP agriculture specialists at Miami International Airport selected the second shipment sent from El Salvador for an agriculture examination and discovered 13 individual pieces of pottery and figurines. The shipment manifest listed the contents as "Handicrafts".
The items appeared to be pre-Columbian and CBP detained the shipment for appraisal and authentication. An expert appraiser recently concluded the items are of Mayan origin. Some of the items date back to 300 A.D. while others date back to 1200 A.D.
"CBP's primary mission is to stop terrorists and their weapons from entering the homeland and the agency is also charged with facilitating lawful international trade and travel,” said Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher Maston. “The interception of these ancient antiquities is a great example of the role CBP plays in enforcing international repatriation laws of ancient artifacts."
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Florida include travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. Follow @CBPFlorida on Twitter for real-time updates.
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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.