ICE returns cultural artifacts to Peru

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) repatriated 404 items of cultural significance to the Government of Peru at a ceremony Thursday at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington.

“The return of so many stolen cultural artifacts is a great example of the tireless work ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) does to combat transnational organized crime,” said ICE Director Saldaña. “I commend the special agents of HSI for their work on these cases. I also want to recognize the private citizens and businesses who proactively cooperated with the investigations, doing their part to ensure that these historic artifacts are returned to their rightful owners.”

Items returned included 296 ceramics and 51 textiles, some dating as far back as the 8th century A.D., including items from the Chancay civilization, which existed more than a thousand years ago in the area that is now modern day Peru. In addition, a Nazca-style Peruvian vessel, a comb, and a beaded necklace were among other artifacts returned, several from the Moche culture, an ancient Peruvian civilization. A 1735 copy of the book, “El Sol, y Año Feliz del Peru San Francisco Solano” was also be repatriated. The book was printed in Madrid in 1735 when the author, Rodriguez Guillen, traveled to Valladolid, Spain for the General Conciliar meeting of the Franciscan Order. “I’m extremely confident that with the support of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Justice, we will succeed in fighting the illegal trade of antiques and liberate our countries from the scourge of cultural trafficking,” said Ambassador of Peru in the United States, Carlos Pareja.

ICE has returned approximately 8,000 artifacts to over 30 countries since 2007, including paintings from France, Germany, Poland and Austria, 15th-18th century manuscripts from Italy and Peru, cultural artifacts from China, Cambodia, and two Baatar dinosaur fossils to Mongolia, antiquities and Saddam Hussein-era objects returned to Iraq, ancient artifacts, including a mummy's hand, to Egypt, and most recently a page from a 14th century illuminated manuscript and a 19th century Carelli painting to Italy.