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Six Arrested for Smuggling Antiques

December 11, 1998

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Greek authorities have arrested six people and seized bronze figurines and hundreds of ancient coins in three separate cases of suspected antiquities smuggling.

Experts from the Athens National Archaeological Museum said the confiscated items are ``rare ancient objects of inestimable archaeological and commercial value,″ police said.

All the arrests occurred Tuesday but were not announced until Friday.

In one case, police seized 340 ancient bronze coins, 34 silver coins and another 23 objects, most small bronze figurines dating from between 7000 B.C. and 3000 B.C.

Two men were arrested in a department store 20 miles north of Athens when they attempted to sell the objects to an undercover police officer, authorities said.

One of the suspects, Loukas Dimitoulis, 40, had been arrested in March in another antiquities smuggling case and was free pending court proceedings.

In a similar case, two men were arrested in the southern city of Tripoli when they attempted to sell a Mycenaean gold necklace dating from the 16th to 12th centuries B.C. to an undercover policeman.

A search of one of the men’s houses revealed 31 photographs depicting other antiquities that police believe were also intended for sale. Authorities are searching for the objects.

Also in Tripoli, police arrested two men on suspicion of attempting to sell the marble head of an ancient statue and 24 bronze coins.

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