Greek Police seized a statue believed to date to the Hellenistic era after breaking an antiquity smuggling ring in Sparti, in the southern Peloponnese. The marble statue without head is believed to represent ancient Greek goddess of Health (Ygeia). The statue is 55 cm high.
The antiquity smugglers wanted to sell it for 500,000 euros.
Last Friday police officers posing as potential buyers met with three people to negotiate the purchase of the statue which archaeologists believe is of great value.
The three men aged 44, 48 and 57 were arrested at a central square in Sparti and detained on charges of illegally trading in antiquities. Further investigation the homes of the detainees revealed four other antiquities from the Hellenistic and the Roman era of smaller value than the goddess statue, as well as small antiquity objects.
Also devices to detect metals, several cell phones, pepper spray, flares pistols and other items were found and seized.
The operation followed tips off that reached the police two months ago.