Friday, 13 May 2011

Mexico Gets Stolen Antiquities Back from US

In July 2008, the Casa de la Cultura museum in Cuatro Cienegas, Coah. was ransacked by thieves, who stole pre-Columbian arrowheads, Indian huaraches (sandals) and rabbit hunting sticks. Fortunately they were not lost to the community forever. Mexican investigators traced some of the missing artifacts to the U.S., and found that a year after the raid a Texan, Antonio Javier Reyes, from McAllen had acquired at least some of them by July 2009 and was trying to sell them. They also learnt that he had two prospective customers and the rendezvous chosen was Fort Stockton, "a dusty waypoint amid the vast ranchlands of West Texas", where "Federal agents caught up with Reyes meeting with two men on Aug. 4, 2009, inside K-Bob’s, a local steakhouse".
Investigators confronted Reyes inside the restaurant, saying he was wanted concerning the smuggled artifacts, court records state. Inside Reyes’ white Nissan Xterra, agents found the rabbit sticks. One of the men detained alongside Reyes told agents he was looking to buy the “rabbit sticks, (scrapers) and points,” or arrowheads, from Reyes for $7,000. The meeting inside the steakhouse was the culmination of several conversations and e-mails about the artifacts. The potential buyer and the other man, a friend of Reyes who claimed no knowledge of the artifacts, were released without arrest.
Reyes faces charges for allegedly smuggling the cultural property, and if convicted a penalty which potentially be up to 20 years in prison. Apparently:
Reyes has a history of dealing in pre-Columbian artifacts, investigators wrote in court documents, with customs officers seizing a cache of relics from him in June 2001. Prosecutors dismissed that case from federal court in Laredo weeks after his arrest.
Jared Taylor, 'McAllen man tangled in international pre-Columbian artifact smuggling case', The Monitor, May 07, 2011

Photo: K-Bob's Steakhouse, Fort Stockton TX, reportedly the food is good, but service leaves a lot to be desired.

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

I also discuss this issue in the context of other heritage issues in the Southwest, over on SAFECorner.
http://safecorner.savingantiquities.org/2011/05/heritage-looting-and-vandalism-in.html

 
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