A US television news engineer faces smuggling charges after being caught with stolen Iraqi paintings when he returned from Iraq, federal officials said Wednesday.
Benjamin James Johnson, an employee of Fox News, was arrested at Dulles Airport near Washington last Thursday after he was found with paintings of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and one of his sons, Uday Hussein.
An affidavit filed with a criminal complaint against him said Johnson, who was "embedded" with US troops in Iraq, gathered up the paintings at a palace belonging to Uday.
The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that US Customs agents have seized paintings and military weapons from returning US journalists in the past several days.
Museums, offices and homes were widely looted in Baghdad over two days following the fall of the city. Thousands of antiquities were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum, which housed a priceless collection dating back 7,000 years to the Sumerian civilization.
Meanwhile, a commanding officer of US forces in Iraq said Wednesday that five American soldiers were investigated for possible involvement of the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a cache of money in Iraq. No one has been charged.