A criminal gang who traded in stolen antiquities have been arrested when trying to sell their latest haul including a priceless 2000-year-old Roman amphora in an undercover Civil Guard operation.
Eventually, the efforts to sell the items, which included a rare antique camera and compass, came to the attention of the Civil Guard unit that investigates stolen antiquities and items of national importance. The Guard set up an undercover investigation named Operation Garete to catch the criminals in the act.
The goods stolen from a luxury villa have all been recovered and the main suspect, who has also not been named, was arrested in the city of Jaen, located in the southern Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia.
A further three people are being investigated under the suspicion of “varying degrees of participation” according to a police report from yesterday (Thursday, 5th November).
The report says the stolen objects included the Roman amphora that is around 2000 years old, a camera from between 1914 – 1927, a video camera from 1923, two clocks, a marine fossil, a binnacle compass, light for a vessel, and a “wooden miniature”.
The amphora, which has been dated by experts, is thought to be from the end of the second century to the start of the first B.C.
Agents started their “meticulous” investigations after the items were reported as stolen from a residence in the village San Jose located in Almeria, however, it is unclear when.
Police traced them through several lines of investigation, including ads that were posted online selling the stolen goods which helped track them back to the suspect and the items in Jaen.
A video obtained by Newsflash shows the stolen objects which were seized by police in the operation.
The report says the 2,000-year-old Roman amphora has been handed over to the Archaeological Museum of Almeria for storage as they are “urgently recommended” to be included in the Historical Heritage list due to their “exclusivity” and the need to conserve the items like this that remain for future generations.
The investigations are being conducted by the Court of First Instance and Preliminary Investigation number six in Almeria.
The Spanish Civil Guard have investigated crimes that impact on Spanish national heritage since 2012.