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Alleged Art Smuggler Talks About Raids

Robert Olson, the "art smuggler" identified in affadavits from the federal investigation of four Southern California museums, including the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, was recently interviewed by the Orange County Register. &

The interview paints a detailed portrait of the man and his trade, which is more than shady. & Olson bragged at one point about having more antiquities from Thailand than Thailand itself. & The article says of Olson: "He started making trips to Thailand every two or three months to buy antiquities; over time, he developed a network of about half a dozen dealers whom he would visit in person. He said he even had a house in Thailand for some time in the 1980s." &

How did Olson get these items out of Thailand and into the United States? & He told the OC Register he would pay a shipping company to ship the items to the US and never asked questions as to how they accomplished it. & But according to the affadavit, Olson told the undercover agent he would have the shipper affix a "Made in Thailand" label on the items to make them look like replicas.

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