US to return 4,000 archaeological relics to Mexico

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- U.S. authorities have seized more than 4,000 archaeological artifacts looted from Mexico that they plan to display in Texas before returning them to their country of origin.

Leticia Zamarripa, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says the items mostly date from before the landings of European explorers in North America. The lot includes pre-Columbian stones used to grind corn and other grains, statues, figurines, copper hatchets and other artifacts.

ICE said in a statement that agents seized the relics in El Paso, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver, San Diego and San Antonio.

The agency has not said who looted the items, who it seized them from or why it was involved in the seizures.

The artifacts will be displayed Thursday at the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.