COLOMBIA NEWS – The Spanish government is to send back to Colombia 691 objects dating to the pre-Columbian period that were recovered in a drug-trafficking and money-laundering raid in 2003.

The pieces, including statues, funeral jars, vases and jewelry made of crystals and precious stones, cover 3,000 years of history. They were kept for 11 years in Madrid’s Museum of America.

Colombia made an official petition to repatriate the artifacts and, on June 10, Spain’s High Court ordered that they be turned over to the Colombian authorities.

“Today is a very special day for Colombia. The arrival of nearly 700 artifacts to Colombia is one of the most important cultural events in recent history,” Colombia’s ambassador to Spain, Fernando Carrillo Flórez, said.

The collection will receive a “place of honor” in a museum that has yet to be announced, he added. But it won’t arrive at Bogotá until July or August, when the packing process is completed.

According to Ignacio Cosido, the director of Spanish police, the collection has an estimated value of about US$7 million. The pieces were recovered during a raid at a Madrid house 11 years ago, which led to the arrest of 29 Spanish and Colombian citizens.

Source: El Espectador