Hobby Lobby Hands Over 5,500 Illegally Imported Artifacts

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tags: Iraq, Hobby Lobby

Big-box arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby will surrender some 5,500 artifacts it purchased illegally and pay $3 million after federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint in New York yesterday, reports Dan Whitcomb at Reuters.

The objects are believed to come from Iraq, where they were smuggled into other Middle Eastern countries. In 2010, they were sent to the United States falsely labeled as clay tiles.

“The protection of cultural heritageinde is a mission that HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) and its partner U.S. Customs and Border Protection take very seriously as we recognize that while some may put a price on these artifacts, the people of Iraq consider them priceless,” Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, says in a statement.

Read entire article at Smithsonian

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