FBI seizes artifacts from Indiana collector, age 91, who says they’re legal

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The FBI has swooped into an elderly man’s Indiana home and seized thousands of artifacts he collected — he says legally — during his decades of travel to hundreds of destinations, including Haiti, Australia, New Guinea and Peru.

Donald Miller, 91, accumulated the artifacts over the past 80 years, said FBI Special Agent Robert Jones, during a news conference.

“The cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable,” Mr. Jones said, at the same time refusing to disclose any details about what the FBI took, Fox News reported.

Mr. Miller told CBS, meanwhile, that he “absolutely” has the right to own all his artifacts, although he’s cooperating with the FBI’s investigation.

“I have been in 200 countries collecting artifacts,” he said, Fox News reported.

It’s not clear if the FBI has charged him with anything. But agents stormed his home and seized his artifacts — some of which they claim he acquired improperly, Fox News said. Video showed that agents set up a command vehicle and erected numerous tents over Mr. Miller’s property, which had the effect of largely shielding their activities from public view.

Mr. Miller, meanwhile, said he obtained many of his artifacts before laws were on the books addressing them. Federal agents are reportedly going to reunite some of the pieces with their original owners, he said, Fox News reported.

Experts and laypersons alike were impressed with what he’s amassed through the years.

“I have never seen a collection like this in my life except in some of the largest museums,” said Larry Zimmerman, a professor of anthropology and museum studies and one of the the experts who was called in to help agents to catalog the collection, Fox News reported.

And one neighbor, Andi Essex, said she saw part of Mr. Miller’s collection a few years back and that it contained “crazy stuff” like a full skeleton that “blew my mind,” AP reported.

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