A Brooklyn person was indicted for allegedly attempting to smuggle hundreds of Egyptian artifacts stuffed within dirty suitcases by JFK Airport — such as some virtually 4,000-12 months-old relics, federal prosecutors declared Monday.
Ashraf Omar Eldarir, 47, was caught at the Queens airport in January allegedly carrying a few suitcases loaded with 590 antiquities protected in foam and bubble wrap, federal prosecutors reported.
“These cultural treasures traveled throughout hundreds of years and millennia, only to end up unceremoniously stuffed in a dirt-caked suitcase at JFK,” explained Richard P. Donoghue, US Attorney for the Japanese District of New York.
When US Customs and Border Defense agents opened the packages, sand and grime spilled out, and some of the products smelled of moist earth, indicating that they experienced been lately dug-up, prosecutors alleged.
Between the relics ended up objects created to be buried in the funerary pyramids of Egyptian royalty, these kinds of as gold amulets and wood tomb models — like 1 that dated back again to all over 1900 BCE, prosecutors declare.
There was also two funerary stelae, or stone monuments to the deceased, hailing from the Roman time period, the feds claim.
Officers also uncovered a portrait of a Ptolemaic king carved on a pill, that had initially been aspect of a royal constructing or temple, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors stated Eldarir did not have any of the needed documentation from Egypt authorizing the export of the artifacts.
He is billed with one particular rely of smuggling from this incident, and another stemming from an before excursion in which he allegedly smuggled an ancient Egyptian polychrome reduction.
“Eldarir’s alleged smuggling of 590 artifacts pillaged from Egypt is however an additional example of an personal trying to get to financial gain by stealing historical past from yet another country,” claimed Homeland Protection Investigation Specific Agent-in-Demand Peter C. Fitzhugh.
If convicted, Eldarir faces a maximum sentence of 20 yrs in jail for each individual count. A day for his arraignment in Brooklyn federal courtroom has not still been established.
Eldarir’s legal professional did not instantly return a request for comment.