Dinosaur trafficker gets three months in prison in US

Dinosaur trafficker gets three months in prison in US
Eric Prokopi, who pleaded guilty back in December 2012, was accused of ordering from Mongolia and then carefully rebuilding a 70-million-year-old Tarbosaurus bataar (T-bataar) skeleton.

NEW YORK - An American who illegally imported dinosaur skeletons from Mongolia - one of them 70 million years old - was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison, authorities said.

Eric Prokopi, who pleaded guilty back in December 2012, was accused of ordering from Mongolia and then carefully rebuilding a 70-million-year-old Tarbosaurus bataar (T-bataar) skeleton.

At 2.43 m (eight feet) tall and 7.31 m (24 feet) long, the skeleton was sold at auction for $1.05 million (S$1.8 million) on May 20, 2012 in New York.

But after a tip from authorities in Mongolia, it was confiscated a month later. The skeleton was returned to Mongolia in May 2013.

Prokopi, 39, was accused of illegally importing in 2010 and 2012, several dinosaur bones for 200,000 dollars from a seller in the Asian nation, along with a British partner.

The bones were shipped through Britain to the United States, where the skeletons were reassembled, prosecutors said.

He imported three T-bataar skeletons, as well as two from the saurolophus angustirostris, and several of oviraptors, they added.

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