MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -- Tip-offs by tourists have led to the recovery
of nearly 40 priceless pre-hispanic artifacts being hawked along a highway in
Mexico's central Hidalgo state, justice officials said on Sunday.
Mexico's attorney-general's office (PGR) said the country's National
Institute for Anthropology and History has identified the 39 archaeological
artifacts as original objects dating from before the Spanish conquest of the
region 500 years ago.
Officials believe the objects came from the giant Pyramids of Teotihuacan,
just outside Mexico City.
The PGR said in a statement that a number of tourists had come forward
saying they had been offered the chance to buy genuine archaeological
That and information from a witness led investigators to the haul, the
said in a statement.
Police finally located the suspect "at kilometre 68 on the Mexico-Tulancingo
highway" in Hidalgo. He fled as police approached, dumping three plastic
bags of artifacts.
"We have been able to recover a lot containing 39 original prehispanic
pieces of incalculable value," the prosecutor's office said.
The hoist included four ceramic candelabras, three decorated earthenware
boxes, a figurine mould, a stone pestle and the handle of an incense burner, it
Police are still looking for the traffickers involved in the racket.
Archaeological objects in Mexico are protected under its federal law on
monuments and archaeological zones.
Copyright 1999 Reuters.