US returns ancient cultural artifacts, dinosaur fossil to China

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-12-11 11:05:43

The cultural artifacts, including jade disks, bronze trays and other items, dated back as far as 1,600 B.C., ICE said, adding that the items were recovered by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, Cleveland and Miami.

"Fossils and treasures like these will always be targeted by bad actors, but we continue to investigate these crimes and repatriate them to their rightful owners," said ICE's Deputy Director, Daniel Ragsdale.

US citizen Eric Prokopi, of Florida, has pleaded guilty to engaging in a scheme to illegally import dinosaur fossils, according to ICE. Prokopi was fined, served time in jail and was subject to 15 months supervisory release.

"The US government has demonstrated a responsible attitude for implementing international treaties and honoring bilateral commitments," said Gu Yucai, China's Deputy Director General of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The other items were seized in connection with an HSI Miami investigation into an art dealer by the name of Francois Lorin.

In accordance with a bilateral agreement the United States and China signed in 2009, the two countries work together closely to prevent the illicit trafficking of archeological objects.

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