Police officers arrested a total of 40 people in Bulgaria, Turkey and France and about 5500 items were seized as part of an operation aimed against illegal trafficking of items of cultural historical value, including ancient archaeological objects made of gold and silver.
The investigation began a year and a half ago by Bulgarian anti-organised crime officers and in co-operation with the other police services, expanded to Turkey and France. The operation was against organised crime groups assisting international channels for illicit trafficking and trade in artefacts acquired mainly through illegal archaeological digs, mainly in Bulgaria and Turkey. The police operations were conducted in three stages. Two of them are part of a larger international operation against crimes against cultural heritage between Bulgaria, France and Turkey and with the assistance of Serbia.
From May 4 to 12, three special police operations were carried out on the territory of Bulgaria by officers of the anti-organised crime squad and under the direction of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. Forty addresses were searched. Among the items seized were coins and objects from antiquity and the Middle Ages, among them ceramic and metal vessels, various appliqués, rings, earrings, figures of stone and metal and others. Some of the items and coins were made of gold and silver. About 20 metal detectors have been seized, including a specific geo-array scanner, as well as computers and other high-tech equipment. The actions were conducted in 11 cities in Bulgaria and four abroad.
(after Independent Balkan News Agency)