Cypriot police seize ancient artifacts, arrest 6 suspected smugglers

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Cypriot police seized ancient gold and other artifacts dating up to 3,000 years back and arrested six suspected smugglers in a sting operation Friday, authorities said.

The antiquities, confiscated in the southern town of Limassol, include gold leaves and rings, two mediaeval gold coins and a bronze cross.

*quot;It seems that (the antiquities) are of great value _ both archaeological and financial,*quot; said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the Mediterranean islands antiquities department.

Police identified the suspects as four Cypriots and two Greek nationals, who were allegedly acting as middle men to sell the artifacts.

Following a tip from Greece that Cypriot nationals were seeking to sell antiquities abroad, Cypriot and Greek police set up a sting operation on the island with an officer posing as a buyer.

Police said the suspects were trying to sell the finds for €280,000 ($395,000).