Video Credit: CEN
Spanish cops have seized this pre-Columbian gold mask which was reportedly set to be sold on the black market for over 200,000 EUR in “the biggest seizure”in the history of Colombia.
The Spanish national police, in cooperation with Colombian police, made the seizure at the Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas airport, located in the city of Madrid the Spanish capital.
The gold mask had reportedly been plundered from the Colombian city of Tumaco and a police press statement described it as having “huge artistic and cultural value”.
Two men were arrested for allegedly working to the plunder historically valuable pieces in Colombia to sell in markets, galleries and merchants in Europe.
In Colombia, a series of raids saw more than 240 pieces from the pre-Columbian era of incalculable value seized, reportedly ready to be sent to Spain, Russia and China in order to be sold on the black market.
According to a press statement from the Spanish national police, this operation is “the biggest seizure” of similar pieces in the history of Colombia.
The investigation started on 9th October, when national police found out, thanks to the Link Official in Colombia, about the existence of an international network working in the trafficking of valuable cultural items, especially from the pre-Columbian era.
The alleged leader of the gang, who had the help of his two children, was expected to arrive in Spain with a valuable pre-Hispanic piece, made with gold and other precious material, whose value was more than 200,000 EUR (173,680 GBP).
The mask would then be sent to the research laboratory lab of Conservation and Technical Services Limited that could certify its authenticity as a gold mask from Tumaco, located in the South Pacific of America.
The suspected leader was reportedly flying to Madrid after trying to sell the piece in Paris, the national police identified his flight and arrested him and his son, with five pre-Columbian artefacts with them.
The officers also found out about the existence of a safe box the alleged leader had rented from a company in Madrid and when police checked it, another three pieces were found.
The gold was “going to be sold for more than 200,000 EUR” according to a police press statement.
It is unclear if the men have been charged or if there is an extradition order from Colombia.
There is currently very little information about the exact age of the mask and its history.
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