Department of Homeland Security revealed that around 60 Iraqi cultural artifacts have been smuggled to the USA, including a limestone statue of an ancient king, were returned to Iraqi government.
In a statement, the department said that move follows investigations led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New York, Baltimore, Austin, Texas, and New Haven, Connecticut.
One of the most significant items that were returned is a limestone statue depicting the head of the Assyrian King Sargon II, who was a ruler of 8th century B.C.
Immigration and Customs agents seized the looted artifact in August 2008 after an antiquities dealer based in Dubai shipped it to New York. The statement mentioned that the investigation led to the identification of an international network dealing in illicit cultural artifacts.
Other artifacts that are returned to Iraq are gold plated items, soap dish, etc. These were most probably looted from palace of executed former President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.
Bronze objects, including a Luristan ax from early Sumeria, and clay reliefs and glass objects were also returned. The statement concluded that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit has returned more than 1,200 items to Iraq in four repatriations since 2008.