California man charged with smuggling mosaic from Syria

A Southern California man has been charged with smuggling an ancient mosaic that authorities believe was looted from war-torn Syria and falsely underestimating its value to avoid import duties

Mohamad Yassin Alcharihi, 53, claimed in paperwork the 18-foot-long mosaic was part of a shipment worth only about $2,200, according to a federal indictment announced Friday.

Alcharihi has been locked in a legal dispute with federal authorities to reclaim the seized mosaic. An email message to his attorneys in the forfeiture case has not been returned.