21 pre-Columbian artifacts that were brought into North American territory illegally and were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the so-called Miller operation were delivered to the Ministry of Culture by the US Embassy, Diario Libre reported.

Milagros Germán, the Dominican Republic's Minister of Culture, Robert W. Thomas, the Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy, and Raymond P. Duda, the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Division of International Operations, presided over the ceremony at the Museo del Hombre Dominicano where the artwork was delivered.

Over 7,000 artifacts from different civilizations were seized by the FBI during an operation in Indianapolis, United States. At least 21 of these pieces were recognized as being a part of the Dominican Republic's pre-Columbian cultural heritage.

The FBI made the largest art crime bust in the organization's history in 2014, recovering cultural items that Don Miller had illegally acquired for years.

Robert W. Thomas gave the Taino artifacts to Milagros Germán. The official accepted the items and thanked the US government for working with them so that the assets may be returned to their place of origin.

The United States Government, according to Raymond P. Duda, is committed to combating the theft and trafficking of cultural heritage in order to conserve and preserve it.

“The efforts to identify and return these items, and the assistance of people from so many different organizations today, highlight the importance of international cooperation. The success we share today is a testament to the longstanding partnership between the FBI and the Dominican Republic. Without these strong ties and the ability to work together on matters of importance, we would not be able to achieve these remarkable results,” he said.

While Chargé d'Affaires Thomas expressed that “cultural assets are a unique and non-renewable resource, important for learning about the diversity of human history and cultures. Protecting this cultural heritage around the world, and the stories it tells is a priority for the United States. We are committed to fighting against the theft and trafficking of cultural heritage, and to preserve and protect it.”

Pre-Columbian artifacts
Pre-Columbian arrowheads are shown in this handout photo supplied by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) October 25, 2012. REUTERS/U.S. Immigration and C

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