AP: Florida fossil dealer Eric Prokopi, 38, pleaded guilty to smuggling charges and agreed to give up a $1 million dinosaur skeleton that was seized by the U.S. government earlier this year for eventual return to Mongolia.
The government accused Prokopi of smuggling bones into the country illegally from Mongolia before assembling them into a skeleton that was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for $1.05 million, a deal that was suspended pending the outcome of litigation. The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain.
Prokopi remains free on bail pending a sentencing scheduled for April 25. After his plea Thursday, he immediately went with prosecutors to their offices without commenting.
Photo: This photo released by the U.S. Attorney’s office shows the fossil of a Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur at the center of a lawsuit demanding its return to Mongolia. (AP Photo/U.S Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York, File)