'Dinosaur Smuggler' Pleads Guilty

Tyrannosaurus fossil sold for $1M

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 28, 2012 5:08 AM CST

(Newser) – A man from Florida has admitted to smuggling some prehistoric cargo. Eric Prokopi yesterday told a Manhattan federal court that he'd "forwarded a few shipments of fossils of Mongolian origin from Great Britain to the US that were mislabeled." Among the shipments in question: a Tyrannosaurus bataar that sold for more than $1 million at auction. Prokopi will be sentenced in April, the New York Times reports; he faces 17 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, CNN notes.

He'll also have to give up his fossils, which include two other Tyrannosaurs and a pair of Oviraptors. "It’s one of the longer dinosaur shopping lists," said a prosecutor. It's illegal to take dinosaur fossils out of Mongolia. A website that prosecutors say belongs to Prokopi announces, "That's right, we sell dinosaurs!" the Times notes. "To whom, you might ask, and we say to anyone that wants one!"

The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the center of the case.
The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the center of the case.   (AP Photo/U.S Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York, File)
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