Monday, October 24, 2011

Mailed mummies

Here are 2 instances of foiled attempts to smuggle mummies by mail:

La Paz, Bolivia to Compiegne, France
Police arrested a Bolivian woman at a local post office after a routine check of the package she was attempting to mail aroused suspicion. The woman claimed that she received the package in Desaguadero (40mi to the west) from a man she calls Don Gustavo. She was provided with the delivery address and instructed to send it from La Paz, but claimed she wasn't told what the box contained. Inside was the mummy of a child that appeared during the preliminary inspection to be in a good state of conservation. The mummy bundle was thought to be from the Inca culture, which would make it roughly 750 years old (1st image, video here).

La Paz, Bolivia to Buenos Aires, Argentina
An unidentified person completed a false contents declaration and posted a package claimed to contain replicas of Peruvian ceramics. Intercepted and x-rayed at Argentina's central post office, the shipment actually contained 3 skulls (2nd and 4th images) and a mummy (3rd image). A preliminary evaluation determined them to be from the pre-Inca Paracas culture on the Peruvian coast and date from between the 7th and 3rd centuries B.C. The intended recipient, an Argentine citizen, was detained as part of an investigation into illegal trading in ancient cultural artifacts. Officials speculated the ancient human remains were to have been relayed to a museum or a private collector in Europe.

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