They arrested an American couple who had 722 Mayan relics in a house in Guatemala

The Prosecutor’s Office seized the 722 Mayan relics to be examined and to function as evidence in the investigation (National Civil Police of Guatemala)

The Public Ministry of Guatemala located this Thursday a variety of 722 Mayan archaeological pieces at the residence of an American couple who were arrested on November 14 and are under investigation.

Hundreds of Mayan archaeological pieces made of jade and basalt of different sizes were located by the Prosecutor of Offenses against Cultural Heritagein an operation in the house of Stephanie Jolluck Y Giorgio Rossilli, two Americans who live in the City of Antigua Guatemala.

Mayan relics at home in Guatemala
Guided by their lawyer Juan Pablo Aris Bravo, right, Stephanie Allison Jolluck and Giorgio Salvador Rossilli leave a courthouse in Antigua, Guatemala (AP/Santiago Billy) (Santiago Billy/)

The Prosecutor’s Office seized the 722 Mayan relics to be examined and to function as evidence in the investigation carried out against Jolluck and Rossilli.

Both Americans were detained by the Guatemalan police last Sunday, when They were trying to move 166 archaeological pieces in their car.

The authorities have confirmed the authenticity of 90% of the pieces seized from the Americans the first time they were arrested.

Mayan relics at home in Guatemala
According to the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Guatemala, 90% of those 166 pieces seized on Sunday are originals and the remaining 10% are replicas (National Civil Police of Guatemala)

In addition, Jolluck had been detained a few days before, when she tried to leave Guatemala through La Aurora International Airport with several Mayan handicrafts in her luggage.

There is suspicion that the Americans are part of a gang of illicit trafficking in cultural propertyan extreme that must be verified, as he explained to the news agency EFE a source from the Prosecutor’s Office.

Mayan relics at home in Guatemala
Rossilli said that when they arrested him with Jolluck in the vehicle they were going to return the objects to their owner (National Civil Police of Guatemala)

During the operation, computers, books, compact discs and two cell phones were also seized and will be analyzed by experts.

Jolluck, 49, is photographer and on his social networks he shares photographs of daily life in the City of Antigua Guatemala, its landscapes and its indigenous inhabitants.

Mayan relics at home in Guatemala
Franklin Contreras, a renowned architect from Antigua, said he was the owner of some of the pieces held by Rossilli (National Civil Police of Guatemala).

Rossilli’s knowledge of Mayan culture made the prosecutor in the Jorge Alberto de León case doubt the justification that the American presented during his hearing. “In his statement before the judge, (Rossilli) said that because he was a foreigner he did not know or did not know how to distinguish between one piece and another, who saw them in the market and did not imagine that they were ancient archaeological pieces”said the prosecutor.

The couple did not go to prison, paid a fine of $6,500 each and they cannot leave the country. The Prosecutor’s Office has three months to provide more evidence to the court and to determine whether they should face trial or not.

In Guatemala, trafficking in archaeological pieces is considered a crime since they are registered as cultural heritage of the nation.

(With information from EFE and AP)

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