Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

13 accused of conspiracy to sell stolen Florida artifacts

TALLAHASSEE — Eleven people from Florida and two from Georgia have been charged in what state investigators called a criminal conspiracy to sell artifacts stolen from state-owned lands in Florida.

One of the men arrested, William Walters, 48, is from Dade City.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers Wednesday described a nearly $2 million black market in illegal historical artifacts.

Items shown at a news conference in Tallahassee included dozens of arrowheads and pot shards. But many stolen artifacts likely will never be recovered.

"This looting didn't just take artifacts from the ground," said Robert Bendus, Florida's state historic preservation officer. "It took history away from this generation and from future generations of Floridians."

The FWC's Maj. Curtis Brown said those arrested were the "main dealers and looters." The youngest defendant is 25; the oldest is 74.

"This network is a very tight-knit group of folks," Brown said. "They had collectors they dealt with and they'd sell around the state and around the country."

Brown confirmed that the investigation is ongoing. When asked if some of the collectors who bought illegal artifacts would also be arrested, he said, "There may be additional violations found."

Other officers served search warrants on four homes in Florida and found artifacts and other illegal items, according to a FWC statement.

Two of those arrested also were charged with drug possession.

Investigators said the recent arrests resulted from a two-year-long investigation called Operation Timacua, named after an Indian tribe that once lived in parts of Florida and Georgia. The probe started after complaints of looting were lodged over the last five years from around the state.

13 accused of conspiracy to sell stolen Florida artifacts 02/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  2. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  3. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  4. Man convicted of second-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe, his girlfriend's daughter

    Nation

    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.

    Michael McCarthy’s friend Michael Sprinsky, far left, gets a hug from sister Laura Sprinsky after McCarthy is found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, who became known as Baby Doe.
  5. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...