Belize | Cultural artifacts stolen by US citizen repatriated after USNPS investigation
Cultural artifacts that were smuggled out of Belize and recovered by Special Agents of the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB) have been successfully repatriated to their country of origin. The artifacts were returned at a recent ceremony when the United States and Belize signed a cultural property agreement, solidifying their collaboration to combat looting and trafficking of cultural objects.
During a cultural property investigation conducted by ISB Special Agents, investigators discovered that a US citizen from California visited a number of archeological sites in Belize in 2000. Searching for artifacts, the man traveled to inland sites as well as on a caye in southern Belize. On the caye, he found an archeological site containing human remains, pottery fragments, at least one jade bead, and flaked stone material. He took many of the artifacts back to California with him without the permission of Belize, and did not declare them upon re-entry into the US.