updated 4/2/2009 7:42:23 AM ET 2009-04-02T11:42:23

Swiss authorities said Thursday they had caught a couple from New York trying to smuggle $3.1 million worth of jewelry into Switzerland.

A statement said the couple was stopped at Zurich's airport last week after a random search.

When the jewels were found, the couple said they were the woman's personal possessions and estimated their value at $1.1 million.

A probe showed the value to be three times higher and that the man was a jewelry and diamond trader. The couple then told authorities they intended to sell the jewelry at a luxury fair in the Swiss city of Basel.

The couple was not identified because of Swiss privacy laws.

The statement said they would have to pay a hefty fine for breaching customs law. No amount was specified.

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