Italian police have recovered some 3,000 ancient Roman artifacts including coins and jewelry that were dug up and were about to be sold on the black market, officials said Tuesday.
The artifacts, which span centuries of Roman history, were seized in a series of raids last month in Verona, said Capt. Corrado Catesi of a regional police unit for the protection of Italy's cultural heritage.
News of the finds was not released until Tuesday because the investigation in the northeastern Italian city was still underway, Catesi said.
Investigators believe the artifacts were found during clandestine archeological digs in various locations in Italy and Bulgaria.
No one was arrested in the raids, but Verona prosecutor Maria Beatrice Zanotti was investigating five people - an Italian and four Bulgarians - suspected of trafficking in stolen goods, Catesi said.
The five were not necessarily connected, but were all trying to sell the items to private collectors on the illegal antiquities market, he said.
Catesi said the artifacts would probably end up in public museums after archeologists have examined and authenticated them.