JACKSON, MISS., SEPT. 4 -- A collection of jade figures, statues and beads seized in a drug raid may be priceless pre-Columbian artifacts and will be turned over to the University of Mississippi anthropology department for study, officials said today.
Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Fred Ball said arrangements have been made for the Ole Miss anthropology department to study and appraise the artifacts. He said they will be transferred there Sept. 11.
The artifacts, thought to be Mayan or Aztec, were discovered Sunday in an underground safe during the seizure of an 830-acre estate near Summit, Miss., that is thought to be the distribution point for a six-state drug-smuggling ring.
Three of the five people arrested in connection with the marijuana-smuggling operation appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate John R. Countiss III.
Countiss set a $100,000 bond for Randall James Williams, 28, of Abbeville, La. Bond for Kim Guidry, 29, of Summit, was denied pending federal grand jury action. Gary Toups, 35, of Houma, La., was ordered held without bond until a Tuesday hearing.
The three are charged in connection with the interception of 1,079 pounds of marijuana in Greensburg, La.
The Central American relics were found in a safe in an underground room beneath an equipment shed on the Randy Guidry estate. The whereabouts of Randy Guidry, Kim Guidry's uncle, are not known.
Officials also recovered at least five vehicles, two aircraft and a number of antiques from the estate, which included a 13,000-square-foot house still under construction, several other buildings, a swimming pool and a handball court.
Shelton Ray Stafford, 38, and his wife, Linda Clair Stafford, 35, both of Greensburg, also were arrested in connection with the smuggling operation.