Customs secures ancient artifact from Iran


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Louisville intercepted a shipment containing an ancient amber glass bottle shipped from the United Kingdom to Colorado.

The officers inspected a shipment containing an antique amber glass bottle purporting to be from the 9th-10th century.  CBP consulted a subject matter expert who affirmed the bottle was actually from Iran, between the 11th and early 13th centuries.

The shipment was seized for violations of the prohibited importation of goods or services from Iran.  The Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC, is a department of the U.S. Treasury that enforces economic and trade sanctions against countries and groups of individuals involved in terrorism, narcotics, and other disreputable activities.

Assistant Area Port Director Eugene Matho said this is part of his agency’s role in protecting cultural property from criminal activity. 

“Indiscriminate vendors are often willing to overlook international safeguards that preserve the importance of keeping antiquities within their rightful community,” he said.  “Our officers are trained to recognize antiquities and ensure their safety and sanctity from illicit traders.  CBP is proud to return this artifact and help restore the Iranian cultural heritage.”

Generally, OFAC will not allow any merchandise from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar) or most of Sudan.  to bring in merchandise from these prohibited countries, the recipient would first need a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, which include Louisville and the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport; and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products.


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