Global Customs-Police Operation Seizes 41,000 Cultural Goods
From October to early December 2017, a first-time global customs-police operation, codenamed ATHENA, took place to counter the illicit trafficking of cultural objects, theft, and looting as well as internet sales.
The results were as follows:
- Over 41,000 cultural goods, e.g., coins, paintings, drawings, furniture, musical instruments, porcelain, archaeological and paleontological objects, books, manuscripts, and sculptures were seized;
- Thousands of internet marketplaces were monitored;
- Tens of thousands of checks and controls in various airports, ports, and other border crossing points as well as in auction houses, museums, and private homes were conducted.
Operation ATHENA was organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in cooperation with INTERPOL. 81 countries were involved worldwide. The Spanish Guardia Civil and Europol coordinated the actions focused on Europe, which were codenamed Operation PANDORA II.