Florida Man Smuggled Tyrannosaurus Skeleton into U.S.

Eric Prokopi, a Gainesville, Florida resident, faces federal charges for illegally importing a nearly compete Tyrannosaurus skeleton into America along with other fossils. Prosecutors call him a "a one-man black market in prehistoric fossils."

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations started removing items from Prokopi's Gainesville home this morning, according to

Among the items recovered were the Tyrannosaurs bataar skeleton (also known as the Tarbosaurus, a species that was a slightly smaller relative of the more famous Rex), a Saurolophus skeleton, the fossilized remains of a microraptor, and remains from a Gallimimus and Oviraptor mongoliensis. All but the microraptor were species native to what is now modern day Mongolia. 

Mongolia has banned the private ownership of cultural artifacts, including dinosaur fossils, since 1924. 

Prokopi, who calls himself a "commercial paleontologist," has illegally imported the fossils form Mongolia and China, and had sold or planned to auction them off. 

Federal authorities said he was able to import the fossils by misrepresenting the contents of the shipment. 

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