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Feds Raid Balboa Park Museum in Smuggling Investigation

Federal Agents raided the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park early this morning. The raid is part of an investigation into smuggled Southeast Asian and Native American artifacts. KPBS radio’s

Feds Raid Balboa Park Museum in Smuggling Investigation

Federal Agents raided the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park early this morning. The raid is part of an investigation into smuggled Southeast Asian and Native American artifacts. KPBS radio’s Alison St John has more.

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The Mingei is one of four museums in Southern California under investigation. Undercover agents established a link between the museums and two primary suspects, alleged art smugglers in Los Angeles.

Search warrants suggest officials at two of the museums were aware the donated objects were stolen and accepted them anyway.

But warrants for the Mingei are unclear on whether museum officials knew they were accepting stolen artifacts  

Mingei Director Rob Sidner says he was unaware of the alleged theft.

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Sidner: We had asked to make sure that things were being donated properly and we would never accept as donation or purchase anything that we knew to be or had any doubts about.

The Mingei Museum is closed to the public today.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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