Egyptian police have arrested 11 people and seized 22 ancient Egyptian artifacts as authorities identified a gang dealing in stolen archeological treasures.
Authorities identified the gang after the wife of one of its members reported her husband's disappearance following his abduction by two men who said were deceived into paying him 5 million EGP (approx. $280,000) to invest in the sale of archeological artifacts.
The interior ministry said all the gang members have been captured, releasing a video showing 11 people arrested including the two men who paid the money.
The footage showed the recovered pieces, which include 22 statues of different sizes, including waist-length sculptures, as well as two wooden boxes.
Police also seized huge sums of money and a quantity of opium with the men, the ministry said in the statement.
Illegal trade in antiquities and illegal excavation has flourished in Egypt in recent years. Two months ago, Egyptian authorities received hundreds of ancient artifacts from Italy after they were recovered from smugglers in May. The pieces went on display at the Egyptian museum in Cairo in July.