Confessed fossil smuggler Rick Rolater sentenced to probation

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A federal judge has sentenced a Colorado man to two years of supervised probation following his guilty plea to a federal felony charge of conspiring to smuggle fossils from China into the United States.

Judge Scott Skavdahl on Tuesday also ordered Rick Rolater of Eagle, Colo., to pay a $25,000 fine.

Rolater had sold fossils through two galleries, one in Jackson and one in Avon, Colo. He agreed to forfeit fossils to the government, including a Tyrannosaurus skull that authorities have said likely will be returned to Mongolia.

Rolater apologized to Skavdahl. The judge warned Rolater he would face jail if he violates probation.

The federal government last year returned another 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus skeleton to the Mongolian government that had been smuggled into the country by another fossil dealer.

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