Some 4,000 illegally exported fossils, including five dinosaur eggs worth EUR 150,000 have been seized along with valuable rocks and minerals in a raid by Spanish police.
They also reportedly found several live animals that had been also hidden with the fossils in the hope of smuggling them into Europe.
Agents of the National Police and the Tax Agency stopped the cargo in the Port of Valencia, capital of the autonomous community of Valencia, in the touristic coast of Eastern Spain, on 7th October this year.
The fossils, of great palaeontological value, were illegally imported from the Argentine region of Rio Negro.
According to an official statement made by the Spanish police and obtained by Newsflash, more than 4,000 fossil pieces, including five dinosaur eggs with a value of more than EUR 150,000 (GBP 137,123) in the illicit market have been found.
The operation began at the end of January, with the receipt in the Department of Customs and Special Taxes of the Tax Agency of a complaint filed by the Argentine Customs Authorities.
The collaboration requested the detection, detention and recognition of an export of personal property destined for the Port of Valencia.
Subsequently, it was possible to identify the container that held the looted pieces and they were recovered.
It was unloaded at the Port of Valencia at the end of February.
The other fossils included a prehistoric horse tooth capable of showing insights on how the animals originated in the Americas and then spread to the rest of the world.
A complete specimen of a dinosaur was also found although it was not revealed what type.
Animals protected by the CITES (Convention for the Control of International Trade Of Protected Species) were also found. It was not revealed what they were, but it’s presumed they were low maintenance rarities who would be able to survive the journey with minimum care and maintenance.
Officials said there had been taken away to a proper facility to be cared for after they were found.
All of the items seized were hidden among stones of different size, shape and colour, to evade custom controls.
All the merchandise transported was originally from Argentina, including the fossils, minerals and rare animals, and it is currently being held at a secure location in the Port of Valencia at the disposal of the Argentine Authorities who will eventually be repatriating everything once the paperwork is completed.
Two people have been indicted in Argentina as responsible for the illegal export of the fossil remains from the Museum of Rio Negro.
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Story By: Pol F, Sub-Editor: Joana Mihajlovska, Agency: Newsflash
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