Tourist Held for Pocketing Beach Stones

Claimed as artifacts in Turkey

    Photo: Mario Lopes via Shutterstock

A Mississippi man collected two fragments of rock from a beach while vacationing with his wife in Turkey. He packed them in his luggage for the trip home on Sunday but didn't make it past the airport security line. He is now being detained in the country and faces up to 12 years in prison for attempting to smuggle historical artifacts. 

Jason Dement says that he and his wife collect rocks or sand from every country they visit, and had no idea these could have been artifacts. A museum conducted an investigation of the stones, one a triangular piece of rough marble and the other a long brick-colored piece, and confirmed that they are artifacts, possibly from the Roman Era, according to a blog Dement has created.

Dement wrote in an update yesterday that while there could still be a monetary fine, it is less likely that he will be imprisoned.

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