SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (WTVO) — Four people were indicted by a federal grand jury in Utah last week on accusations that they conspired to sell over one million dollars worth of dinosaur bones stolen from federal and state lands in southeastern Utah, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release, the illegal operation allegedly took place between March 2018 and at least March 2023. The defendants allegedly purchased, transported and exported “paleontological resources,” like fossilized remains, and traces or imprints of organisms, stolen by unknown individuals.
Utah natives Vint Wade and Donna Wade are alleged to have purchased the resources to sell at gem and mineral shows, as well as to co-defendants Steven Willing and Jordan Willing.
The Willings then allegedly exported dinosaur bones to China by mislabeling them and deflating their value to avoid detection from law enforcement.
“By removing and processing these dinosaur bones to make consumer products for profit, tens of thousands of pounds of dinosaur bones have lost virtually all scientific value, leaving future generations unable to experience the science and wonder of these bones on Federal land,” said U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins in the release.
The defendants face charges of conspiracy against the United States, Paleontological Reseources Preservation Act violation and theft of property of the United States, among others.