Colorado Man Pleads Guilty in Chinese Fossil Case
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Colorado man has pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge of conspiring to smuggle fossils from China into the United States.
Rick Rolater of Eagle, Colo., entered the plea yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Kelly Rankin in Cheyenne. The 69-year-old has operated galleries in Jackson and Colorado.
Rolater faces a $25,000 fine and two years’ probation under a plea agreement when he is sentenced March 18 in Casper.
He agreed to forfeit a saber-toothed cat skull and three dinosaur fossils imported from China.
Rolater also agreed not to contest forfeiture of two fossils from Mongolia, including the skull of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar, a close relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex. He didn’t admit the Mongolian fossils were imported illegally.
Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations handled the probe.