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US citizen arrested for smuggling looted Syria artefacts

An American man has been charged with illegally smuggling an ancient Syrian artifact

A US citizen was arrested by US police for smuggling a priceless ancient mosaic and grossly underestimating its true value to avoid import duty from Syria, The New Arab reported.

53-year-old Mohamad Yassin Alcharihi, who is based in Southern California, claimed the ancient mosaic, which is 18 feet in length, was worth the relatively small sum of $2,200, a federal indictment released on Friday claimed.

An expert estimated that the artwork was worth far more than the sum stated, and believed the mosaic was similar to others found in the war-torn Syrian city of Idlib.

The antique treasure depicts the famous myth of Hercules, and is believed to date as far back to the Roman Empire.

FBI investigators seized the priceless artwork from Alcharihi's Palmdale house in 2016, and has since been locked into a legal battle with federal authorities to reclaim the mosaic.

READ: US citizen accused of smuggling Egyptian artefacts through JFK Airport

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