A sophisticated organized crime group used bulldozers and advanced metal detectors to excavate ancient artifacts in southern Italy, and deployed facilitators across Europe to traffic them.
Operation Pandora III, carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard, Europol, Interpol, and the World Customs Organization, included a special focus on illicit online trafficking. 59 individuals were arrested in the operation.
The Antiquities Trafficking and Heritage Anthropology Research (ATHAR) Project has published a critical report on West Asian antiquities trafficking taking place more or less out in the open on Facebook.
Last week the United Nations Security Council adopted a new resolution to curb the trade of looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria. UN Security Council Resolution 2199 prohibits the trade of artifacts illegally removed from Syria since 2011 and Iraq since 1990.
There is significant evidence that illicit antiquities trading contributes to paramilitary funding. It does not happen everywhere, all the time, but it does happen.