Gainseville man arrested for illegally importing dinosaur fossils

NEW YORK - A Florida man has been charged with illegally importing dinosaur fossils into the United States.

The charges were announced Wednesday against Eric Prokopi. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan say he has been charged with multiple crimes.

They say the fossils included a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton from Mongolia. The government seized the skeleton earlier this year, planning to return it to Mongolia.

Prosecutors say Prokopi was arrested Wednesday morning in Gainesville, Fla., and will appear in court in Gainesville in the afternoon. Authorities say he brought the fossils into the country between 2010 and 2012.

Prokopi has said he acted legally. He did not immediately respond to a message for comment Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.