Art ring charged with smuggling $143 million in antiquities

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors have charged eight people with trafficking more than $143 million in stolen antiquities.

A criminal complaint filed Monday in New York says the conspiracy involved more than 2,600 seized antiquities and dates back three decades.

Prosecutors said the ring includes suppliers, restorers and a New York art dealer on trial in India on related charges.

Authorities said the group sold the items for profit and lent some pieces to major museums around the world.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. tells The Associated Press the case was brought by his office's antiquities trafficking unit.

The investigation began in early 2012 and involves artifacts stolen from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Pakistan and other countries.

Authorities said the items were given false provenance and often restored to remove signs they were looted.