This report from a local Dallas news station details yet another example of how illicit networks piggyback off each other. We know that in Italy antiquities smugglers used other illegal and grey networks to smuggle antiquities up into the freeports of Switzerland.
It comes as no surprise then that the illegal narcotics trade, a big problem on the border towns of the US and Mexico, has also opened up pathways for looted and stolen antiquities.
According to Homeland Security Investigations, thieves removed thousands of items from archaeological sites in the area of Northern Mexico near Big Bend National Park. Other artifacts were stolen during a museum heist in Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, and smuggled across the border. “From here, they’d be just like drugs or any other stolen property,” Stone said. “They’d be moved and transshipped to other locations.” Undercover agents intercepted some of the items by infiltrating the smuggling ring. “We were able to set up some meetings and view these artifacts posing as buyers,” said Bill Fort, a Homeland Security Investigations agents who helped crack the case.
Here’s the video report: