44 Arrested in Greece for Antiquities Trafficking

POLYGYROS, Greece (AP) -- Police in northern Greece say they have arrested a total of 44 people for illegal traffic in antiquities after they had tracked the group's moves for six months.

Police say they have confiscated 9,200 silver and bronze coins dating from the 6th century B.C. to Byzantine times (4th to 15th century A.D.). They have also confiscated 300 "small artifacts," they said.

The ringleader of the group, a 66-year-old retired customs official, would often travel abroad to arrange for the sale of the coins, police say, who added that 39 of the 44 suspects would excavate in several places in northern and central Greece at the ringleader's request.

The suspects are making depositions to an examining magistrate.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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