Customs officer handed stiff sentence over antiquities trafficking ring

A Thessaloniki court on Thursday imposed a 22-year prison sentence on a 67-year-old retired customs official found guilty of leading a large and active criminal racket whose members were illegally excavating ancient artifacts and selling them.

Apart from the 67-year-old, who was fined 50,000 euros in addition to the prison sentence, the court imposed jail terms ranging from two to nine years on another 43 people linked to the racket.

Another nine defendants were exonerated.

The case came to trial after police dismantled the racket last spring following a large operation in northern and central Greece.