Peruvian police arrested six tourists this week for allegedly damaging and defecating at a scared temple at Machu Picchu. Officials plan to deport five of the tourists and prosecute another, Reuters reported.
Police said Tuesday that the tourists, from Chile, Brazil, France and Argentina, snuck into a restricted area of the ruins illegally. They caused a rock to fall from a wall of the Temple of the Sun, damaging it.
Police said one of the visitors also defecated inside the Incan city, which is one of South America's most popular tourist designations.
"The six tourists are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage," Cusco regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told Peruvian news agency Andina on Monday.
While five of the tourists will be deported, an Argentinian man will stay in Peru to face charges for "destroying Peru's cultural heritage." He acknowledged a lead role in the vandalism.
According to AFP, each tourist faces at least four years in prison if found guilty of damaging the site.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. A recent spike in tourist interest in the sacred site has raised concerns over conserving the site and sparked protests over a planned new airport in the region.