- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2013

An American veteran planning a 6-day vacation with his wife in Turkey who collected stones as a hobby was detained Sunday and faces trial for attempting to smuggle “historical artifacts” from the country.

Jason Dement, of Purvis, Miss., was taken into custody at Antalya airport because two pieces inside a bag of stones appeared to be artifacts. On Monday, a court released him from custody but barred him from leaving Turkey, My Fox DC reports.

According to the 30-year-old’s attorney, Mr. Dement faces prosecution under strict Turkish laws against the smuggling of artifacts.

A museum report that confirmed the pieces to be artifacts did not say precisely what the pieces may have been or how old they may be, My Fox DC reports.

“It had no inscription,” Mr. Dement told the Associated Press. “It came from an ordinary beach. There were no historical sites around, no ancient ruins.”

Mr. Dement, a former soldier, works at the Katterbach U.S. Army base in Germany. He told the AP that he and his wife like to collect stones as souvenirs. She’s also employed at the base and was allowed to board a plane for Germany on Sunday, My Fox DC reports.

The punishment for smuggling ancient artifacts is up to 12 years in prison.

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