Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Mongolian Dinosaur Skeleton

Posted December 27th, 2012 at 9:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to smuggling a 70 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton into the United States from Mongolia, selling it at auction for more than $1 million.

Prosecutors call Eric Prokopi a “one-man black market in prehistoric fossils.”

Prokopi also agreed to forfeit claims on other dinosaur remains, including a Chinese flying dinosaur that he illegally brought into the United States with a false customs statement.

Prokopi faces up to 17 years in prison when he is sentenced in April.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says fossils and ancient skeletons are part of a country's natural history and cultural heritage. He said black marketers like Prokopi steal a slice of that history.