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FBI Art Crime Team returns twelve Cultural Heritage pieces to Colombia

Updated: Mar 10


The Embassy of Colombia to the United States received 12 cultural artifacts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team that recovered the items in what has been called “the single largest recovery operation of cultural property in FBI history” conducted in 2014 in rural Indiana where seven thousand items artifacts were seized.


This is the second group of Colombian items repatriated by the FBI to the Embassy in the last 4 years. The objects were collected over decades by Don Miller (1923-2015), an amateur archeologist who, according to various sources, “amassed a vast collection of artifacts over seven decades” from different parts of the world.

“The FBI was honored to repatriate a total of 12 items of cultural heritage to the Colombian people with the assistance of the Embassy of Colombia in Washington DC," said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division.
"The artifacts in question were recovered several years ago by the FBI during a criminal investigation involving a U.S. subject known for traveling throughout the country and abroad looting archaeological and burial sites. We look forward to continuing our work with our Colombian partners for the protection of cultural property.”

The process of identification of these pieces demands time and precision, as well as a specific set of experts and technicians that then coordinate with appropriate officials to proceed with the repatriation. According to the FBI, by early 2019 only 15% of them were identified.


The recovered pieces were identified as Colombian Cultural Heritage by the ICANH (Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History).


The artifacts were repatriated at the Embassy and will coordinate their return to Colombia with the Ministry of Culture.


Since 2018, the United States has repatriated more than 200 artifacts belonging to Colombia’s cultural heritage.


For more information on the FBI’s Art Crime Team, visit:

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft


In the picture: Randolph J. Deaton IV *FBI*, Andrea Jimenez *Embassy of Colombia*, Colleen Childers *FBI*,Silvia Dangond *Embassy of Colombia* and Clara Dajer *FBI*.