Feds Charge 4 People for Allegedly Selling $1 Million of Stolen Dinosaur Bones

The alleged operation dates back to March 2018 and includes dino bones that were "illegally removed" from federal and state land.

a man holds up dino bones
Image via Bureau of Land Management
a man holds up dino bones

Four people are now facing federal felonies in connection with the alleged purchase and sale of more than $1 million of dinosaur bones that were “illegally removed” from Utah land.

A federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment naming four people, identified as follows: Vint Wade, 65; Donna Wade, 67; Steven Willing, 67; and Jordan Willing, 40. Those charged are accused of violating the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA) through multiple offenses dating back to March 2018.

“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,” Trina A. Higgins, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, said in a recent news release.

While all of the indicted have are alleged to have “purchased, transported, and exported” dinosaur bones taken from federal land, prosecutors further detailed that Vint and Donna Wade sold “illegally obtained” resources to Steven and Jordan Willing. The Willings then allegedly exported the dinosaur bones to China, notably mislabeling them as part of an effort to prevent the contents from being discovered.

The Wades, meanwhile, also allegedly made payments to unnamed individuals who illegally removed the bones and sold selections from their haul at gem shows.

Charges for the alleged operation that also caused an estimated $3 million in damage include conspiracy, PRPA violation, theft of U.S. property, and more. Per KPIC, all four individuals have since pleaded not guilty.

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