Bulgarian Police Bust Illegal Antiques Storage
A large amount of cultural valuables, acquired through illegal archeological digs, has being seized in the Bulgarian capital Sofia by the police.
The Interior Ministry's press center announced Wednesday that a joint operation of the Sofia "Fight against Organized Crime" unit and the Sofia Directorate of Interior Affairs had busted the antiques hidden in vault owned by a 63-year-old man, identified as S.D. AKA Taneto.
The operation was prompted by information about a man, who traded cultural valuables coming from illegal treasure hunting activities. After identifying the man, the police followed him for about two months and were able to locate the vault inside his business – an antiques store and an adjacent storage facility.
The raid yielded 1 550 antique coins – Roman, Byzantine, Medieval, and from the Ottoman Empire, 605 different items, mostly jewelry, 7 antique icons and 17 crosses and icon frames.
The police further seized two antique, but functioning handguns, a holster, bullets, a rifle and a sword from the "yathagan" type.
The police also searched Taneto's home in Sofia where they found another 5 coins and a folder containing 55 black and white drawings, signed by a famous Bulgarian artist.
S.D. has already served an effective sentence for illegal antiques trading. He is known among treasure hunters as a person who would buy their finds.
Taneto is being held behind bars for 24 hours. Pre-trial proceedings and an investigation have been launched.
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