Fossils dealer sentenced for smuggling dinosaur skeleton - New York News

Fossils dealer sentenced for smuggling dinosaur skeleton

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Tyrannosaurus bataar fossil (DHS photo) Tyrannosaurus bataar fossil (DHS photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -

A New York federal judge has sentenced a Virginia fossils dealer to three months in prison for smuggling a 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton out of Mongolia. Eric Prokopi also must serve three months community confinement.

Prokopi formerly lived in Gainesville, Florida, and now resides in Williamsburg, Virginia. The government said he smuggled bones from the Gobi Desert into the U.S. and then assembled them.

A prosecutor said Tuesday that Prokopi provided substantial support to investigators, helping them recover at least 18 fossils. The Probation Department had recommended he serve more than two years in prison.

Dallas-based Heritage Auctions sold the dinosaur skeleton for more than $1 million. The government said the skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain. The sale was suspended and the skeleton returned to Mongolia.

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