HomeNewsBrief4 Indicted, 3 Arrested in Peru Artifact Trafficking Case
BRIEF

4 Indicted, 3 Arrested in Peru Artifact Trafficking Case

PERU / 10 APR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Four people have been indicted by a US federal grand jury for the illegal trafficking of Peruvian artifacts, in the most recent case exposing the lucrative black market trade that is worth billions.

Three suspects -- two naturalized US citizens and one Peruvian national -- were arrested in Utah and Miami, while a second Peruvian suspect remains at large. (See indictment below.)

During the investigation leading up to the arrests, the US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) body used an undercover agent to buy artifacts from Utah resident Cesar Guarderas, and to maintain phone and email contact with Guarderas and Peruvian national Javier Abanto-Sarmiento, the brother of Guarderas' wife. Over the course of the investigation, officials confiscated over 30 artifacts, as detailed by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Peru's Foreign Ministry -- which confirmed the dismantling of the artifact trafficking band -- said the investigation has been underway since October 2012, and that authorities are investigating possible contacts the suspects had in that Andean nation. No arrests have yet been made in Peru.

InSight Crime Analysis

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials estimate that the trade in illicit artifacts is worth up to $8 billion a year world wide. According to ICE, HSI officials have returned over 6,600 cultural heritage items originating from 24 countries since 2007. 

The artifacts trade is a problem for various Latin American countries, as evidenced by the US hosting an anti-trafficking workshop for Guatemala, Belize and Mexico in the Spring of 2012. In Peru -- where the problem was recently highlighted in another high profile case when Bolivia returned a stolen Peruvian mummy -- the government estimates that $18 million a year in artifacts are illegally smuggled out of the country.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 2 JUN 2022

While there are some efforts to build resilience, including the passing of new legislative frameworks and some other signs of…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 19 MAY 2022

Cocaine processing has taken root on European soil, Mexican and Dutch synthetic drug traffickers have partnered up, and a new…

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…