Sarasota man one of 13 arrested for selling priceless artifacts

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FLORDIA - Florida Fish and Wildlife officers have shut down an artifact crime ring.

A statewide investigation stretched from the panhandle to the keys and resulted in 13 arrests.

Detectives say the group was destroying state lands, including the illegal dredging of rivers and the digging of massive holes in pristine woodlands.

Investigators say they were trying to illegally uncover and sell historic Florida artifacts, like Native American arrow heads and pottery. Many were being offered for sale at prices up to $100,000.

Among the 13 arrested was a Sarasota man. William Frignoca was charged with 1 felony count - Violations of Historical Resources and 1 felony count - Dealing in Stolen Property.

Florida statute establishes that historic properties, including artifacts, are an important legacy to be valued and conserved for present and future generations. Artifacts on public lands are part of the public trust and should be enjoyed by all. When people take them and sell them illegally, they are stealing from the citizens of Florida.