Kapoor, an American citizen and owner of both Art of the Past gallery and Nimbus Import Export in Manhattan, is accused by police in India of involvement in antiquities trafficking. Artifacts from Kapoor are reportedly located in American museums' collections.
The New York Post article describes today's raid and tells about a prior seizure of artifacts:
It is unknown whether the raids in New York are part of a federal investigation into violations of U.S. criminal and/or import laws, or whether ICE executed the search warrants simply to support the investigation and prosecution of Kapoor in India. In either case, federal authorities may be contacting museums across the United States that have acquired objects from Kapoor. Forfeiture actions and/or search warrants may be forthcoming if Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) develops probable cause to believe that accessioned objects may be linked to illegal artifacts trafficking.
The New York Post article appears here in its entirety.
UPDATE 7/26/12: The New York Times is now reporting that the "Manhattan District Attorney’s office issued an arrest warrant for the dealer, Subhash Kapoor, on charges of possessing stolen property."
It should be remembered that prosecutors applying New York state law recently charged and convicted Arnold Peter Weiss, even as federal authorities worked with the Manhattan District Attorney's office to investigate the coin case. This example of federal-state cooperation may be taking place now in the Kapoor case. An arrest warrant issued for Kapoor by a county prosecutor's office (the New York County District Attorney, a.k.a. the Manhattan District Attorney) may signal the Manhattan DA's increased determination to deploy state law to combat culture crime. In fact, District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. recently concluded a prosecution that convicted ivory dealers under New York criminal law. That case saw a collaborative investigation between the DA's office, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the federal United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&W).
Federal-state cooperation and the use of state criminal law--as opposed to federal criminal law--to prosecute international antiquities trafficking may be taking shape in New York City, which is the heart of the antiquities market.
The United States and India have an extradition treaty.
UPDATE 7/26/12: NBC4 in New York has video of the raid.
This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2012 Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. CONTACT: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com