Egypt thwarts smugglers seeking mummy millions
A handout picture from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities shows a mummy from the Greco-Roman era in Fayoum. Egyptian police have arrested three would-be smugglers trying to sell intricately painted Pharaonic-era mummies for more than five million dollars
Egyptian police have arrested three would-be smugglers trying to sell intricately painted Pharaonic-era mummies for more than five million dollars, a security source said on Wednesday.
Tourist police in the town of Fayyum, south of Cairo, arrested the men on Tuesday as they sought to sell the four mummies and other looted artefacts on the international antiquities black market.
The source said the mummies appeared to have been stolen from an illegal dig carried out by the men near Minya, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Fayum, and are likely previously unknown to antiquities authorities.
"One of the mummies is of a child, the other three are of men, all covered with linen and plaster," the source said, adding that another 10 small statues and a Pharaonic sarcophagus decorated with hieroglyphs were also seized.
"These smugglers were arrested before they could sell the mummies to antiquities traders for 20 million Egyptian pounds (5.3 million dollars)," the source said.
The tourist police in Fayyum are now trying to work out exactly how old the artefacts are and who the mummies are. The smugglers face a minimum of three years in jail.
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