Dinosaur Skeleton Smuggled to NY Returned to Mongolia

Monday, May 6, 2013  |  Updated 9:19 PM EDT
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The battle over a priceless set of bones finally comes to an end. The tyrannosaurus skeleton was smuggled from Mongolia, then auctioned off  in New York for $1 million. Roseanne Colletti explains how this tale ends -- and the random sighting that started it all.

NBC 4 New York

The battle over a priceless set of bones finally comes to an end. The tyrannosaurus skeleton was smuggled from Mongolia, then auctioned off in New York for $1 million. Roseanne Colletti explains how this tale ends -- and the random sighting that started it all.

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Federal authorities in New York have returned a 70-million-year-old, nearly complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton that was looted from the Gobi Desert to the Mongolian government.

Authorities say the stolen skeleton 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 smuggled the bones into the U.S. then assembled them into a skeleton. It was sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for more than $1 million; the deal was suspended. 

The government said the dinosaur skeleton was mislabeled as reptile bones from Great Britain.

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