ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have broken a major gang that allegedly exported thousands of illegally-excavated antiquities for sale through conniving European auction houses or directly to private buyers.
A spokesman for the southern Patras police directorate, which headed the nationwide 14-month investigation, says more than 50 people were involved in the criminal organization. Twenty-six suspects have been arrested so far, ranging from the alleged leadership to people believed to have been carrying out the illegal, nighttime excavations.
Police said Wednesday that more than 2,000 artefacts, mostly coins from as early as the 6th century B.C., have been confiscated.
The antiquities were mostly sold through online auctions by houses based in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Britain, which police said were aware of their illegal provenance and sometimes helped finance the gang.
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