A large police deployment of the Civil Guard surprised residents of the historic center of Pontevedra early yesterday morning. Many vehicles and members of the judicial police and Usecic raided a house on the first floor of 1 Sierra Street at 7:15 in the morning. in search of works of sacred art and other antiquities that might be of illicit origin or at least illegally acquired.
The agents acted order of the court with instructions number 2 of O Carballiñowhich investigates alleged crimes against property in a matter that for the time being under gag order. 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, At least four people have been 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 couple in their 70s and residents of Pontevedra who live in the listed property. The woman was released that same yesterday morning during the searches, while the man was to be transferred to the facilities of the Civil Guard to take a statement after the completion of these verification procedures. He is expected to enter court later, it is not known whether in Ourense or Pontevedra.
There are at least four people in custody, three in Pontevedra and one in Ourense, although the number of arrests is expected to be much higher
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 art buyers who would be illegally acquired by a third detained and investigated resident of O Carballinho and that is where the research is focused, which also has scope in other Galician cities.
The one detained in Pontevedra is a a retired man known for his hobby of collecting antiques and the requisitioned pieces will be 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.
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 carrying out the operation have already begun registrations a few days ago in other places and hope that this 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 have indicated that the production will resume that morning at property related to the investigated located in Villaboa. Apparently this action in Pontevedra is only part of a wider investigation coordinated by this court in Ourense and that It has been going on for several days with pending procedures, which is why the proceedings are kept secret.