Which ancient artifacts from the Aztec world have been stolen?
A new report says that more than 30 ancient Aztec sacred object sites in Mexico are at risk of theft by criminal gangs that sell them for thousands of dollars each.
The report by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Mexican Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (IIAAP) was released on Wednesday.
The sites, known as “salt temples,” are thought to have been used by the Aztecs as a sanctuary and religious site.
The report also includes an interview with one of the original owners, who said he sold his site to gangs in 2013, for $100,000.
The criminal group was allegedly responsible for selling the site to a criminal gang, according to the report.
The crime took place in Guerrero state, the report says.
“The crime is particularly serious, as it affects all of the sites and all of their archaeological significance,” said INAH director Luis Pacheco.
“They have been looted from the very beginning,” said Pacheo.
The site of the first salt temple, located in the central city of Toluca, was the scene of a civil war between the state of Tabasco and the powerful Toluca cartel.
The crime was allegedly committed in 2015, with the gangs selling the sites to the criminal group for around $200,000, according the report, and then selling them to the gangs for $1,000 each.
The criminals also reportedly used the sites for drugs and prostitution.
Pacheco said the criminal groups that operate the sites are in control of all of them.
The investigation into the crimes began in December of 2017, and the first raid was conducted by a military unit of the Mexican army.
The area has been the scene for many years of criminal activity.
In 2015, an investigation by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the cartels were trafficking in human organs from people living in poverty.