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Mexican artifacts returned by U.S. customs officials

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — U.S. customs officials have returned to the Mexican government a dozen centuries-old artifacts — one dating to about 300 B.C. — that had been seized at border crossings.

The artifacts, described as priceless by Mexican officials, were revealed Thursday during a ceremony at the office of Mexican Consul Antonio Meza.

"You can't put a price on these pieces that represent part of our cultural heritage," said Rafael Cruz, an archaeologist with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Especially significant among the artifacts is a clay mask from the classical period of the Teotihuacan culture near Mexico City, Meza said.

The artifacts, seized by U.S. Customs Service agents within the past several months, range in age from about 300 B.C. to 1750, Cruz said.