Florida Paleontologist Arrested, Charged for Stealing Dinosaur Bones
October 18, 2012 8:01 AM
comment(s) - last by
He was charged with smuggling goods into the U.S. and interstate sale and receipt of stolen goods
A man from the state of Florida has given a whole new meaning to the term "grave robbing" after getting caught smuggling
from Mongolia to the United States.
Eric Prokopi, 38, a commercial paleontologist from Gainesville, Florida, was arrested in his home today for stealing the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar -- an Asian
cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex
-- from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and smuggling it into the United States.
Prokopi then auctioned the skeleton in Manhattan, New York for $1.05 million in May of this year. According to Mongolian law, dinosaur remains cannot be removed for personal gain. A Mongolian citizen took a picture of Prokopi physically pulling the bones out of the ground in the Gobi Desert. Mongolia is asking that the remains be returned.
Not long after the Manhattan auction, the U.S. government seized the skeleton and launched an investigation. What they found was shocking: not only did Prokopi steal the Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, but he also hoarded the remains of other dinosaur fossils.
"Our recent seizure of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton from Eric Prokopi was merely the tip of the iceberg, said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "Our investigation uncovered a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils."
The other dino bones found in Prokopi's possession were a Saurolophus angustirostris, which resided in what is considered Mongolia today 68 million years ago; a Microraptor, which resided in what is considered China today 65 million years ago, a Gallimimus and a Oviraptor, which both lived 65 million years ago.
Prokopi was charged with smuggling goods into the U.S. and interstate sale and receipt of stolen goods. He also faces one count of conspiracy to smuggle illegal goods, making false statements and possessing stolen property. If he is convicted of these charges, he faces up to 35 years in prison.
"We want to make this illegal business practice
extinct in the U.S.
," said James Hayes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). "This fossil is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of the Mongolian people. HSI will preserve the fossil and return it to its rightful owner."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/19/2012 8:43:18 PM
Eh, if cultural development is directly influenced by geographical features, natural resources, or whatever, then I'd say that said whatever is a part of that particular culture.
On topic, I'd say that dinosaur fossils are certainly a symbol of Drumheller's culture.
That said, theft is still a much better reason for complaint than culture.
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
Report: Eccentric Billionaire Hopes to Clone Dinosaurs
August 2, 2012, 4:26 AM
Scientists Discover Missing Evolutionary Link -- a Tiny First-gen T-Rex
September 20, 2009, 1:38 PM
First Ever Extinct Animal Cloned
February 2, 2009, 8:08 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information