ICE and CBP return pre-Columbian artifacts to Panama

Uploaded by wwwICEgov on 28.04.2011

[Music and Video of pottery]
[ICE Director John Morton] We're talking about the return of treasures that represent the proud heritage of Panama.
[Text] 2000 years ago, in the Coclé region of Panama, artists made pottery that survives to this day.
[Map of Panama]
[Morton] It is our great honor to welcome the President of Panama, Mr. Martinelli, to ICE,
to announce the return of 99 pre-Columbian artifacts to the government of Panama.
[President Martinelli of Panama] I would like to thank the American government for this opportunity
of returning these artifacts that belong to the history of Panama.
We are very happy not only by receiving these ornaments,
but by the excellent relationship, that special relationship that we have with the U.S.
[Morton] These beautiful artifacts represent most of the pottery styles in pre-Columbian Panama
from the period of about A.D. 1 through 1500
and they were illegally imported into the United States.
Our attaché office in Panama received a tip from Panamanian investigators
that a Panama Canal Commission employee was smuggling
pre-Columbian artifacts out of the country and into the United States to Oregon.
We located the shipments in a warehouse in Oregon.
We indicted the Canal Commission employee in Federal court in Oregon,
and we are very pleased today to return all 99 items to their rightful owners,
namely, the people of Panama.
[Packing up artifacts]
[text] The artifacts were packed up in Los Angeles
And flown to Washington DC for the repatriation ceremony.
[Unpacking artifacts]
[Morton] Sadly, illegal trafficking in artifacts is one of the oldest forms of crime in human civilization.
We at ICE take it very seriously. Our partner agency at CBP does as well.
[Thomas Winkowski, CBP] CBP, Customs and Border Protection, is very very proud to be part of this process
of returning these precious pre-Columbian artifacts to their rightful owner.
[Martinelli] In Spanish, there's an expression that says,
"La justicia tarda, pero llega."
Which means, "Justice sometimes comes a little late, but it comes."