US returns 4,000 archaeological relics to Mexico

The Associated Press, Thursday, October 25, 2012, 2:32pm (PDT)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — More than 4,000 archaeological artifacts looted from Mexico and seized in the U.S. have been returned to Mexican authorities.

U.S. officials displayed the relics at the Mexican Consulate in El Paso before handing them over during a ceremony Thursday.

The National Archaeological Council of Mexico says the items mostly date from before European explorers landed in North America. Council President Pedro Sanchez says they include items from hunter-gatherers in pre-Columbian northern Mexico, such as stones to grind corn, statues, figurines and copper hatchets.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says agents seized the relics in El Paso, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and San Antonio. Some were taken during a 2008 theft at a Mexican museum in the West Texas town of Fort Stockton, about 230 miles southeast of El Paso.

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