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Man Prosecuted for Fossil Smuggling

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A Colorado man with ties to Jackson has pleaded guilty to conspiring to smuggle fossils from China into the United States.  John Richard Rolater who operates “By Nature Gallery” in Jackson now faces sentencing for the felony.  His guilty plea was announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming.  The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The 69 year-old Rolater pleaded guilty to the charge and also agreed to surrender any and all contraband vertebrate fossils he has, which include the following fossils from China:  a saber-toothed cat skull, a Feilongus fossil, an Anchiornis Huxleyi fossil and a Darwinopterus fossil. As part of the plea agreement, Rolater also agreed to pay a $25,000 fine, and to two years of supervised probation.  A formal sentencing date has not yet been set. The seized fossils will ultimately be repatriated back to their country of origin.

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