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January 20, 2018

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Feds seize ancient Roman sarcophagus lid in NYC


AP Photo/Richard Drew

An ancient Roman sculpture seized at a warehouse by Homeland Security investigators in the Queens borough of New York, Friday, is crated in the back of a truck, Feb. 28, 2014.

NEW YORK — Federal officials have seized an ancient Roman sarcophagus lid from a New York City storage facility on behalf of Italian officials who say it was looted from Italy decades ago.

A marble statue of a reclining half-clad female is carved in the lid of the funeral box.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said Friday the statue appeared at a public exhibition in New York as recently as last week. Authorities don't know when it entered the U.S.

Federal prosecutors said in court papers filed Thursday the statue is believed to be one of the antiquities illegally obtained by Italian art dealer Gianfranco Becchina.

Becchina was convicted in 2011 of trafficking in plundered Roman artifacts. He ran an antiquities gallery in Basel, Switzerland.

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