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Antiquities smugglers, police officer caught

An officer of the Antiquities protection force was arrested on suspicion of being part of a ring trying to smuggle an ancient statue worth around 1 million euros.

A police officer from Greece's antiquities protection department has been arrested and accused of being part of a smuggling ring that was trying to sell an ancient marble statue worth an estimated €1 million.

Police said that the 49-year-old officer was arrested with eight other suspects, following raids and searches at 11 areas in greater Athens and two others in towns in central and northern Greece.

The almost intact 1,900-year-old Hellenistic era statue of a male figure measures 65 centimeters from head-to-knee, and is being kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Police did not say whether the statue had been stolen or illegally excavated, but added that a "large number" of less valuable ancient artifacts had also been seized.