MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An air cargo shipment containing ancient stone carvings from Cameroon, known as “Ikom Monoliths,” was intercepted at Miami International Airport, federal officials announced Tuesday.
The confiscated artifacts date back between 200 A.D. and 1000 A.D., according to experts.
Investigators determined that the stone sculptures had been imported to the US using fraudulent documents and said the items will be repatriated to country of origin.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a critical role in protecting cultural property and preventing illicit trafficking,” said Robert Del Toro, CBP’s Acting Port Director at Miami International Airport.
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“This is just the latest example of ever-vigilant CBP teams working with our federal partners to enforce international repatriation laws of ancient artifacts.”
CBP recorded 23 seizures of cultural property during 2019 with a domestic value of nearly $1 million. CBP partners with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the detection, interception, investigation and repatriation of cultural property.