A small cache of handguns and shotguns that were once part of Saddam Hussein’s family arsenal was headed for New Jersey.

That was until federal authorities stepped in and intercepted it. Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement claim the guns are cultural artifacts that were looted from Iraq, and they arrested four men who allegedly had a hand in the deal.

The firearms were made in Germany, China, Spain, Italy and Minnesota (yes, Minnesota), and some bore the initials “Q.S.,” apparently for Qusay Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, the second son of Saddam Hussein. They were being kept in Florida and were being shopped around New Jersey for a potential buyer with a pride tag of up to $350,000.

Last week, David Phillip Ryan, 48, of Miami, Fla.; Karlo Christian Sauer, 42, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Howard A. Blumenthal, 74, of Fort Lee, N.J.; and Carola M. Quirola, aka Carlos Quirola-Ordonez, 55, of New Milford, N.J., were charged with one count each of conspiracy to transport stolen firearms and conspiracy to sell and receive stolen property. Ryan is also charged with one count of unlawfully mailing firearms.

“Trading another country’s cultural treasures or artifacts is a major crime that HSI actively investigates,” Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark, said in a prepared statement. “In this case, we are talking about the weapons of a dictator who brought untold suffering during his reign. These weapons are not for sale to the highest bidder, and HSI, along with our law enforcement partners, have taken the appropriate steps to return these properties to their rightful owners.”

Guns seized during the investigation include:

— One Coonan Arms Inc., .357-caliber semi-automatic pistol, nickel finish, made in St. Paul, Minn., with gold inlay and a medallion “QS” on left side grip (believed to be the initials of Qusay Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, the second son of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein).

— One Korth, .357 magnum revolver (six shot) stamped “Made in W. Germany Waffenfabrik Koth Ratzeburg/LBG,” with gold inlay, black finish, wood grips, which displays a drawing of a wild boar.

— One Korth, .357 magnum, revolver (six shot) stamped “Made in W. Germany Waffenfabrik Koth Ratzeburg/LBG,” with gold inlay, black finish, wood grips, which displays a drawing of a moose.

— One Chinese State Factories type 64 pistol, .32-caliber semi-auto pistol, black finish, with Yemen flag icon on both sides of grip and Arabic writing on the slide.

— Two Cosmi, 12-gauge shotguns, break top, single barrel.

— One Llama Semiautomatic .45-caliber ACP pistol with gold leaf and gold inlays, hand engraved, bearing the initials “Q.S.”

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