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Mongolian Police Uncovers Cross Border Smuggling Organization

By B.KHASH-ERDENE

The Unuudur’s newspaper’s journalist G.Tsolmon reports that foreign media is talking about the issue of the fossils skeleton of the Tarbosaurus Bataar’s which was smuggled from Mongolia. Not long ago the Mongolian Criminal Police department found significant evidence that proved that the fossil bones of the dinosaur was excavated in Mongolia.
It was reported on Mongolian media that N.Tuvshinjargal , the Mongolian citizen who had smuggled the fossil skeleton, had passed away last year. Two additional suspects who were accused of finding and supplying N.Tuvshinjargal with the prehistoric fossils were released on bail after they were questioned by the police.
After the questioning, the Mongolian Criminal Police Department uncovered a cross border criminal organization involving N.Tuvshinjargal (the Mongolian citizen), Eric John Prokopi (the US citizen), Chris Moore (a UK citizen), Baats (a Japanese citizen) and another South Korean, that traded paleontological artefacts.
It was found that the above five smuggled and sold two complete fossil skeletons of dinosaurs, a fossil dinosaur head, a fossil spine and many other items to collectors around the world.
Eric Prokopi, Chris Moore, and Baats were discovered to be friends and negotiated with N.Tuvshinjargal—who spoke English, Korean and Japanese on the items they needed. Authorities discovered that their transactions were conducted through several methods.
The advance payment for the fossils would be used to pay off the locals who were employed to collect prehistoric fossils and bones. After the fossils were collected, the team came to Mongolia and chose which items they would buy. Eric Prokopi, Chris Moore, and Baats visited Mongolia two to three times. Eric Prokopi visited the Umnugobi Province two times. From that point on, the team would send around 30-40 thousand USD to N.Tuvshinjargal to arrange the documents and the smuggling of the artefacts. The smuggled artefacts would be transported to South Korea, Japan, England and the US, as discovered during last summer. They sold the items through black market deals or through secret auctions.
Chris Moore, friend to Eric Prokopi, is reported to be an English palaeontologist who discovered a species of flying dinosaur.
Japanese citizen Baats is the owner of a museum that displays fossil items and is a tradesman of fossil artefacts who has sold many valuable Mongolian fossil artefacts.
They are alleged to be the heads of a cross border smuggling organization. Due to the investigation and work accomplished by the Mongolian Criminal Police Department, black market operators who took part in the scheme are now facing a criminal charge.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1680

Posted by on Nov 4 2012. Filed under Онцлох мэдээлэл. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “Mongolian Police Uncovers Cross Border Smuggling Organization”

  1. B.KHASH-ERDENE,

    Let me tell you about my picture that you appear to have stolen from the internet without the courtesy of asking me. It featured in UB Post on Sunday 4th November 2012. The URL is: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1680

    The picture in your article is of a fossil crocodile skull that I found in 2007 during a site assessment of the Dorset and East Devon coast (UK) World Heritage Site. I found it near Swanage in Dorset. I visit this section of the coast about three times a year and on one occasion I found that fossil: a new species of fossil crocodile from the Lower Cretaceous period, about 130 million years old. We occasionally receive complaints from one individual that there is too much collecting on our coast and that everything of interest is being hoovered up but that clearly does not match reality.

    Now, let me tell you about the people in the photograph. One is me, Earth Science Manager of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site, another is Chris Moore, the subject of your article, and the third is Steve Etches an amateur collector and holder of awards from the Geological Society of London and the Palaeontological Association for services to palaeontology. Steve and Chris are in the picture because they both helped me, with permission from the landowner and Natural England, to excavate the specimen. Chris then prepared the specimen with a grant from our Jurassic Coast Trust: believe you me it costs money to prepare these ‘exquisite specimens’ as you describe them. The specimen has been studied by a post graduate student from the Bristol University and has recently been described as a new species; Goniopholis kiplingi. I have donated the specimen to our local county museum in Dorchester. The use of the photograph in the context of your article is misleading and inexcusable.

    Now let’s compare the experience of this specimen to what may, or may not be happening in the Gobi desert. From recent media articles, it looks likely that illegal collecting of fossils has been taking place from the Gobi desert for years. I have not been there, but I would love to go. The desert is a vast area subject to very considerable erosion at a level that uncovers the extraordinary number of fossils that rightly make the place famous. Indeed, erosion is why it is famous! Protoceratops, I believe, are described as ‘the sheep of the Cretaceous’ and can be found in varying states of decay as they are weathered away; what a shame. And local people, keen to make a living, (perhaps desparate to make a living), take the risk to rescue some of these fossils before they are destroyed by that erosion, They are forced to sell what they find on the black market because collecting is illegal to all but a hand full of elite scientists, some from the USA, who are granted the privilege of searching this vast area once or twice a year for what nature uncovers. Meanwhile the rest weathers away or is collected illegally. How much of Mongolia’s palaeontological heritage has being lost every year in this way?

    On the Dorset and East Devon coast we trust people to collect fossils for the simple fact that collectors have always been, and will always will be, the best mechanism by which amazing fossils are rescue from the very process that expose them; erosion. Discuss.

    FOOTNOTE:

    I expect you to publish the above.

    Normally we charge £250 for the use of our images but quite often we will let the media use them for free if they ask. In this case, I think an appropriate fee would be £500. Please make payment to The Jurassic Coast Trust, C/O the Lulworth Estate Office, East Lulworth, Dorset, UK BH20 5QS

  2. Preserve the immense biodiversity of the Altan-Gobi.

    It is important to preserve the wildlife that inhabits the Gobi and the Mongolian countryside – the flora and fauna that is so rich in Mongolia and is not found elsewhere.

    Though the dinosaur fossil is not a living animal, it is important that Mongolians know that they have a rich biodiversity and it is a very valuable resource not only to Mongolia and Mongolians but to the entire planet.

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