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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. HSI Repatriates 11 Cultural Artifacts to Peru

HSI Repatriates 11 Cultural Artifacts to Peru

Release Date: May 31, 2024

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) repatriated 11 artifacts to the government of Peru during a ceremony held at the Embassy of Peru in Washington D.C. May 30.

The repatriation included a myriad of artifacts, such as jars, vessels, a textile panel and a copper axe.
The repatriation included a myriad of artifacts, such as jars, vessels, a textile panel and a copper axe.

The repatriation included a myriad of artifacts, such as jars, vessels, a textile panel and a copper axe. These 11 artifacts range from 500 to 1,800 years old and are an important part of Peru's history and cultural history.

HSI Deputy Executive Associate Director Patrick McElwain presented the artifacts to Peru Foreign Affairs Minister Gonzalez-Olaechea, and Peru Ambassador to the United States Alfredo Ferrero.

“The return of these irreplaceable symbols of Peru’s longstanding culture and heritage underscores our dedication to preserving cultural heritage throughout the globe,” said McElwain. “HSI is committed to continuing our investigative efforts alongside Peru and other partners in the fight against the smuggling of cultural property abroad.”

The recovery and repatriation of Peru’s artifacts was the result of years of investigative work by HSI special agents and partners.

One of the primary goals of the HSI Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities (CPAA) Program is to protect and preserve the world’s cultural heritage and knowledge of past civilizations. CPAA conducts training and outreach, supports cultural property investigations, and enhances international relations by working with foreign governments and citizens to return their nation’s looted cultural heritage and stolen artwork.

Since 2009, the HSI CPAA Program has partnered with the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center and the Smithsonian Institution to train special agents within HSI, as well as the FBI, customs officers, and prosecutors on trends in the illicit cultural property market, conducting criminal investigations, and properly handling cultural property. Since 2007, HSI has repatriated over 20,000 objects to more than 40 countries and institutions worldwide.

While this is a significant number, HSI notes that a single artifact/object recovered and repatriated is a success in preserving cultural heritage. In addition to its work facilitating repatriations, HSI CPAA continues to execute its mission to investigate leads, work alongside partners, and pursue individuals and translational criminal networks engaged in the smuggling of cultural property, art, and antiquities.

In fiscal year 2023, HSI’s Cultural Property, Arts, and Antiquities (CPAA) Program repatriated more than 3,750 artifacts and pieces of cultural property to Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Italy, Libya, Greece, Mongolia, Nepal, China, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Cyprus and India.

Follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSI_HQ to learn more about HSI’s global missions and operations.

Last Updated: 05/31/2024
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