Smuggled dinosaur skeleton returned to Mongolia

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Associated Press

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 1:32 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. authorities in New York have returned a 70-million-year-old nearly complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government.

Authorities say the skeleton was looted from the Gobi Desert. It was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New York.

A Gainesville, Fla., fossils dealer pleaded guilty to smuggling charges in a cooperation deal last December.

The government said Eric Prokopi (proh-KAHP'-ee) smuggled the bones into the U.S. then assembled them into a skeleton. It was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for over $1 million. The deal was suspended. The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain.

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