Utah man accused in Israel of smuggling artifacts

May 23 2011 - 10:43am

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Dr. John Lund in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Dr. John Lund holds a Widow's Mite in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Dr. John Lund holds part of his collection of coins in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Dr. John Lund in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Dr. John Lund holds a Widow's Mite in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Dr. John Lund holds part of his collection of coins in his home Friday, May 20, 2011, in Murray, Utah. On a trip to Israel Lund recently had coins and other items seized by Israel and has been accused of smuggling the items. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)

SALT LAKE CITY -- A retired lecturer from Utah says he didn't know he was breaking the law when he was detained in Israel for bringing oil lamps and coins into the country with a tour he was leading of Christian sites.

John Lund tells The Associated Press he was detained Monday night at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on suspicion of trafficking in antiquities. He says he used the items as props to tell biblical stories.

The 70-year-old Lund says he was allowed to leave Israel and return home two days ago after posting a $7,125 bond. Israeli officials kept the items.

Israel Antiquities Authority deputy director Shai Bar Tura says Lund could face three years in jail if convicted.

Lund says he hasn't heard from Israeli authorities since returning.

 

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