Bavarian police confiscate Latin American treasures

Police in Bavaria have confiscated a trove of ancient Latin American artefacts from the Mayan, Aztec and Incan cultures worth an estimated $100 million.

Bavarian police confiscate Latin American treasures
Photo: Bavarian state police

The collection of cultural treasures is thought to have been smuggled to Munich from Costa Rica by way of Spain, according to the Bavarian state police. Several countries including Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador lay claim to various items that were in the possession of a 66-year-old Costa Rican art collector.

According to the Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the man, identified as Leonardo Augustus P., claims to be a former diplomat who properly obtained the artifacts. The man, now a resident primarily of Geneva, is reportedly well-known to police dealing with smuggled art and exotic animals on several continents. He has even picked up the unflattering nickname “The Thief of the Treasures” in his native Costa Rica.

“At the moment it’s still unclear how this collection was put together in its current form,” police said in a statement. “Presently there is no indication as to whether the items were stolen or raided.”

Although the collection was displayed in 1997 in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, the man from Costa Rica did not have proper authorization to transport them outside of Spain. After the Costa Rican government alerted German authorities last week that the collection might be on its way to Germany, the Bavarian police tracked down the archaeological treasures.

“It still has to be determined who actually owns the items,” Detlef Puchelt, spokesman for the Bavarian state police, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.


German jailed for life in double police murder

A German man was given a life sentence on Wednesday for shooting dead two police officers to escape being caught for illegal game hunting during a routine traffic check.

German jailed for life in double police murder

The regional court in Kaiserslautern found 39-year-old Andreas Schmitt guilty of the killings in January this year, which sent shockwaves across Germany.

His co-defendant, referred to by the court as Florian V., was found guilty of abetting illegal poaching.

The 33-year-old was in the car with Schmitt when the officers discovered dead game in the boot, investigators said.

“We are all to this day horrified that a supposed routine control could turn into a fatal incident,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement after the verdict.

READ ALSO: German prosecutors say poaching led to double police murder

The victims were a 24-year-old woman police officer still in training and her colleague, a 29-year-old man.

The young woman was killed by a single shot to the head, while the man was shot four times, investigators said.

The officers were able to report that they were checking a suspicious vehicle and that shots were being fired before radio contact broke off.

When backup arrived, the woman was already dead and the man fatally injured. The perpetrators had fled the scene.

The crime in the Kusel district of Rhineland-Palatinate state triggered a major manhunt, with police deploying helicopters and sniffer dogs, sealing off roads and warning local residents not to pick up hitchhikers.