MEXICO: Treasure Traffic

Two years ago a small island in the Gulf of Mexico played host to an imposing expedition. Flashing official archaeological permits, a group of 40-odd men arrived to excavate the site of an ancient Maya civilization that flourished in the 7th century A.D. For 45 days the party unearthed thousands of finely wrought, delicately painted Maya ceremonial statues, carted them out to boats. Said one of the diggers on leaving: a find worth millions. Only later did reports come out that the island's caretaker had been duped: the permits were called forgeries...

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