Bulgarian police bust a group that was illegally excavating Thracian tombs near the town of Pernik, the Interior Ministry said on December 8.
Eight men from Sofia were arrested in the December 7 operation, the ministry said. Six were arrested at the site of the archaeological site and two, alleged to be organisers of the illegal excavation, were arrested subsequently.
The group arrested included people who had previous records for theft, assault and car theft. The men ranged in age from 24 to 52.
A 46-year-old man from Sofia also was detained in connection with illegal excavation and vandalism.
At subsequent searches at various addresses, police found and confiscated firearms with erased numbers, ammunition, masks, tools, security jamming equipment, 300 coins of cultural and historical value – some identified as Roman sestertii – earrings, rings and other jewellery of cultural and historical value. Police also found multiple mobile phones and SIM cards.
Members of the group were being held in 72-hour detention, the Interior Ministry said.