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Hobby Lobby ordered to give up ancient artifact

The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet is ordered to be given up by Hobby Lobby.
The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet is ordered to be given up by Hobby Lobby.(Source: DOJ/CNN)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:25 AM EDT
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(CNN) - A federal court is ordering U.S. craft store Hobby Lobby to forfeit an ancient artifact purchased for more than $1.6 million.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department said the artifact, known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and entered the U.S. against federal law.

In 2014, Hobby Lobby’s president, also the chairman of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C., purchased the tablet for display at the museum.

Law enforcement agents seized the tablet from the museum in 2019.

“The trafficking of cultural property and art is a lucrative criminal enterprise that transnational criminal organizations exploit to make a profit, regardless of its destructive consequence to cultures around the globe,” said Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh of Homeland Security Investigations, New York.

The Justice Department is seeking to return the artifact to Iraq.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.