Man Smuggled 500 Artifacts from Mexico and Brought Them to Big Bend

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Rockport, Texas resident Andrew Kowalik was caught bringing Mexican artifacts over the border through Big Bend National Park. According to KXAN, in April 2016, a National Park Ranger caught Kowalik with 500 artifacts, including stone tools and beautiful arrowheads placed into shadowboxes that he illegally brought into the United States.

America and Mexico are working together to get the artifacts back to their rightful home. KXAN explains that Kowalik will pay a $10,000 fine and “spend the next five years in home confinement with supervised releases during the day. He will be banned from leaving the country or entering any national park during that time.”

Smuggling artifacts from Mexico to the United States certainly isn’t a new idea. writes, “Thousands of relics smuggled out of Latin America in recent years remain in the hands of private collectors in the United States and Europe.” The demand for pre-Columbian sculptures and tools has increased over the years among collectors, and INTERPOL (international police) say that the number of items being illegally traded and stolen is out of control. For example, according to claims made by the Mexican government, the Bonhams Auction House in New York was believed to be selling stolen or fake Mexican artifacts two years ago.