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Dino bones, fossil eggs and a Carte d'Or vanilla ice cream tub were returned to Mongolia. Photo courtesy Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This week, the smuggled remains of Mongolian dinosaurs and poached eggs (their words) were returned, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 

Dinosaur skeletons, egg returned to Mongolia
July 10, 2014

NEW YORK — Several dinosaur skeletons and a fossilized egg looted from the Gobi Desert and illegally smuggled into the United States were returned to the government of Mongolia Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. HSI special agents seized the items during two separate investigations and determined they were illegally poached and smuggled out of Mongolia between 2005 and 2012.

The Mongolian government received:

Saurolophus Angustirostris (Hadrosaur) skeleton;

Oviraptor matrix containing the remains of at least five Oviraptor skeletons;

Nearly complete Tyrannosaurs Bataar skeleton;

Nearly complete Saurolophus Angustirostris (Hadrosaur) skeleton;

Nearly complete Oviraptor skeleton

Oviraptor Egg

HSI seized the majority of the skeletons from Eric Prokopi, a commercial paleontologist. Eight different seizures included at least 31 fossilized dinosaur remains, as well as lizard and turtle skeletons. On June 3, Prokopi was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to three months incarceration and one year and three months supervised release on charges related to smuggling, conspiracy and sale or receipt of stolen goods.

An Oviraptor egg skeleton was also returned Thursday to the Mongolian government. HSI special agents seized it during a separate investigation.

In January 2013, after a tip from the Bureau of Land Management, HSI special agents began investigating a business that was in possession of multiple fossils. Agents, working undercover, examined the objects on display, which included an Oviraptor egg. After securing a federal search warrant, the special agents determined the Oviraptor egg, from Mongolia, was authentic.

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