The case reads like an "Indiana Jones" movie script. A New York City antiquities dealer raids archaeological sites and temples in India, Pakistan and Cambodia, and then smuggles the pieces into the United States, where they're sold for millions of dollars.
According to federal authorities, that's exactly what Subhash Kapoor did. The 64-year-old Kapoor is accused of stealing hundreds of pieces of art valued at more than $100 million, according to James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations. That department is overseeing the case involving one of the largest art rings. "This is definitely one of the biggest, I think that we've seen in the world," Dinkins told CNBC.
Dinkins also described how Kapoor's team allegedly targeted sacred sites.
"These areas are very remote. They go in under the cover of darkness with trucks and tools, and sometimes it's actually during the excavation process itself, when they're discovering them, before the world even knows they found them," Dinkins told CNBC.
"They'll excavate them out and leave under the cover of darkness, conceal it on trucks, move it around to ports of entry, and ship it around the world."
One stolen sculpture, a rare second century sandstone of a woman, is said to be worth $15 million, according to investigators. A 1,700-pound statue of Buddha's head from the first-second century is worth $4.5 million, and an 11th century Uma bronze statue $2.5 million, according to authorities. Indian officials, however, refuse to put a price tag on what they consider to be priceless, national treasures.