On January 13, 2009, during a ceremony at FBI Headquarters, the FBI returned to the government of Panama more than 100 pre-Columbian artifacts that had been recovered during an investigation by our Portland Field Office.
The investigation revealed an amateur archeologist acquired many of the items while working as a teacher on a U.S. military base in Panama during the 1980s. During that time, he married a Panamanian citizen, and he and his wife moved back to the U.S. in the late 1980s, bringing many of the items back with them. The man died of natural causes in 2004. The artifacts were uncovered in and around Klamath Falls. No charges are expected.
The 1972 Panamanian Constitution and a 1982 Panamanian law make it illegal for anyone except the government to own antiquities from that country, and only the government can give permission for archeological digs and/or transport antiquities out of the country.