Head of international treasure hunting ring is held

19th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2006, MALAGA — The alleged head of a gang of treasure hunters which plundered wrecks off southern Spain has been arrested.

19 May 2006

MALAGA — The alleged head of a gang of treasure hunters which plundered wrecks off southern Spain has been arrested.

The 50-year-old American, who has not been named, was arrested in Portugal.

Cmdr. Santiago Almeida, head of a special sub-aquatic unit of Spain's Civil Guard, said the arrest was carried out as part of an operation in which 12 people were detained in six Spanish provinces.

It led to the seizure of treasures valued at tens of millions of euros.

The American is considered the head of this complex organization - with branches in Italy and the United States.

He is due to be extradited to Spain.

According to the Civil Guard, Spain's militarized national police force, the ring has looted important undersea sites in different areas off Spain's southern coast.

They use professional divers and sophisticated technology - including robots and underwater laboratories - to detect buried artefacts and metals.

The organization laundered profits by setting up front companies, which were used to solicit official permits and, occasionally, the right to explore for marine deposits.

Also seized in the police operation were two large boats and guns.

Among the material that was confiscated was a GPS device capable of locating different archaeological artefacts by measuring a range of frequencies.

Depending on what the treasure-hunters were looking for, they could adjust the settings on the instrument accordingly.

The Civil Guard, which has concluded its operation, also found that the looters used satellite photographs to locate the underwater archaeological sites.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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