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Police officers and a cadet from the police school - involved in a treasure-hunting group

21 April 2013 / 16:04:09  GRReporter
2373 reads

The criminal group was involved in illegal excavations and discovery of antiquities for sale and acquisition of criminal proceeds. Those arrested include a retired police officer, three active officers who serve in Attica, a cadet – a policeman from the police school of Ikaron and five individuals. One more person is being sought. Charges were filed against the arrested who are accused of organising and participating in a criminal group and violation of the Law on the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, the Firearm Weapons Act, as well as the Law on narcotics. After several months of investigation by the Internal Investigations Division in Attica, Thessaloniki, Trikala and Volos, it became clear that the arrested have been involved in a criminal organisation at least since February 2012, in order to carry out illegal excavations and trade of discovered items, as the composition of the group was different each time.

During their illegal activity, they examined opportunities for the discovery of antiques in various areas of the country and have repeatedly visited the region of Thermos in Aetolia-Acarnania, as well as Marathon in Attica. They negotiated for, and sold, antiques which they discovered in excavations or acquired in other illegal ways. One member of the group was negotiating the sale of an icon of the Virgin Mary from the beginning of the 15th century.

The investigation and searches in the homes of the detainees revealed the following items which are under the protection of the Law on Antiquities:

  • A round metal coin with embossed edges and Latin letters and numbers, bearing the word "CAESAR"
  • An ancient round metal coin with no clear pictures or letters
  • Two parts of apparently one and the same metal coin
  • Five pieces of antique pottery and amphorae
  • 11 pieces of antiques of unclear purpose
  • Two pyramid-shaped ceramic items

Moreover, the following items were discovered in the car of one of the defendants:

  • A piece of marble with inscriptions in Arabic – it is currently being examined in order to determine whether it falls under the protection of the law
  • Ten sovereigns of various chronologies ranging from between 1907 and 1928
  • A pound from 1928
  • A metal detector with a GPS system
  • A taser that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles causing neuromuscular incapacitation
  • A black metal box with a cable
  • Documents of the Ministry of Culture - Directorate of ancient monuments and cultural heritage – photocopies
  • Numerous user guides for exploration equipment, as well as handwritten notes on the use of metal detectors
  • An MP5 submachine gun with five magazines and a box of 50 9mm cartridges
  • An air gun with 106 metal bullets
  • A double-barrelled gun, a rifle piece and a barrel of a double-barrelled gun
  • A box of 10 bullets for hunting weapons
  • 25 bullets for 9 mm weapons
  • Four small bombs
  • Pepper spray
  • A laptop
  • Excavation tools
  • A handmade package and quantity of raw cannabis - 17.5 g; a plastic pack with 15 blue tablets of unknown origin

The seized items will be sent to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for analysis. By decision of the leadership of the police, an administrative investigation against the three officers has already begun. Those arrested were taken to the Prosecutor's Office in Athens. 

Tags: treasure hunters criminal organisation police excavations antiques metal detectors
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