Karbalinets, among the four arrested in a coup against the illegal sale of sacred art

A large police deployment of the Civil Guard surprised residents of the historic center of Pontevedra early yesterday morning. Multiple vehicles and members of the judicial police and Usecic raided a house on the first floor of number 1 Calle Sierra at 7:15 a.m. in search of works of sacred art and other antiquities that could have an illegal or illicit origin. were received irregularly.

Operators package two of the seized works. | // GUSTAVO SANTOS


The agents were acting on the orders of the investigative court number 2 of O Carballiño, which is investigating alleged crimes against property in a matter that is currently under short-term secrecy. In the registry, they were protected by order by personnel from the Court of Inquiry 2 of Pontevedra and in the presence of several lawyers who were assigned to those under investigation. Throughout the morning, until about noon, the agents seized dozens of works of sacred art in this house. Figures and carvings of saints, as well as other apparently old images, which workers from a moving company hired for the purpose carefully packed to avoid damage during transport to police sites. Little has come out of the case at an official level, but as confirmed by FARO, there are at least four people detained in connection with this investigation. Three in Pontevedra and one in Ourense, although the number is expected to be even higher.

Two of the detainees are a married couple in their 70s and residents of Pontevedra who live in the registered property. The woman was released yesterday morning during the searches, while the man was to be transferred to the offices of the Civil Guard to take a statement after these verification procedures were completed. He is expected to enter court later, it is not known whether in Ourense or Pontevedra.

The sources consulted suggest that these two people will be investigated for a possible crime of acceptance. In other words, it is believed that the role they could play in this network is that of alleged buyers of works of art that would be illegally acquired by a third party, arrested and investigated, a resident of O Carballinho and that is the place where the investigation is focused, which also covers other Galician cities.

The Pontevedra detainee is a pensioner known for his love of collecting antiques and the items seized will form part of his personal collection. During the search, he would claim that many of the items seized from antiquities dealers across Galicia were legally purchased. The Civil Guard will now investigate whether this is the case, whether the person under investigation bought from the person involved in Ourense material that could be stolen, or if, if they did, they knew it could have this illegal origin or acted in good faith. In addition to sacred art pieces, agents took some (apparently ancient) weapons from the house, as well as pieces of ivory, a carved bed headboard and a computer, among other effects.

regional scope

From the official sources of the Ourense Civil Guard, secrecy is absolute. It has hardly become clear that the operation has an interregional scope and that it affects several municipalities.

In fact, the agents conducting the operation have already started the recordings a few days ago in other locations and hope that it can be completed in the next few days. It has not yet ended and it is expected that at its end the official list of detained and seized persons will increase.

Other registries in both the city and Villaboa in a wide-ranging macro operation

Although the one carried out in Sierra de Pontevedra Street was the most striking, due to the large amount of material that was seized and had to be loaded into a moving truck, the agents also searched an establishment dedicated to the sale of antiques near the Plaza Méndez Núñez. Likewise, various sources indicated that the proceedings would continue that morning at a property linked to those under investigation located in Villaboa. Apparently this action in Pontevedra is only part of a wider investigation coordinated by this court in Ourense and which has been going on for several days with pending proceedings, hence the secrecy of the proceedings.

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