Federal authorities in Los Angeles on Friday repatriated ancient Mayan artifacts to the Guatemalan government after they were recovered from the estate of a deceased art collector.

Bonnie Magness-Gardiner of the FBI’s Art Theft Program. Photo via YouTube.com

The collection of seven limestone sculptures was turned over to the FBI by a person handling the estate of the collector, who has not been publicly identified.

“The cultural significance of these pre-Columbian artifacts is priceless to the people of Guatemala,” said Deirdre Fike, the FBI’s assistant director in charge of the agency’s Los Angeles office. “I’m very pleased that the FBI’s Art Crime Team was able to facilitate the return of these ancient treasures to their proper home.”

The person who surrendered the artifacts did not know when the sculptures were brought to the United States, according to the FBI.

The U.S. has a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Guatemala which restricts the importation of archaeology artifacts into the U.S. In the spirit of the agreement, the FBI is facilitating the return of the artifacts, Fike said.

— City News Service

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