FORT WORTH, Texas — A health care provider in Texas with a ardour for paleontology is difficult the federal authorities after authorities seized a 70 million-year-old dinosaur cranium from his fossil assortment.
Dr. James Godwin argues that the federal government waited too lengthy to file a forfeiture declare after it seized the Tyrannosaurus bataar cranium that authorities say was amongst a number of fossils smuggled illegally out of Mongolia. Beneath the Nationwide Stolen Property Act, the federal government has 5 years from the time an offense is found to file a forfeiture lawsuit.
Federal investigators stated the cranium was unearthed from the Gobi Desert between 2000 and 2011 and it traded palms a number of instances earlier than it ended up at a retailer in Wyoming, the place Godwin acquired it. Brokers seized the fossil from Godwin in July 2013 and a forfeiture declare was filed in August 2017.
However Godwin’s legal professional argued that the federal government surpassed the five-year window to file a declare as a result of, he stated, brokers first grew to become conscious of Godwin’s connection to the fossil in July 2012.
“The statute of limitations begins when the federal government possesses information enough to set off an investigation — not at any time when the federal government decides it has sufficiently verified the information,” legal professional Michael A. Villa Jr. stated in a current court docket submitting.
In line with the Dallas Morning Information, a decide in Fort Price heard testimony Tuesday within the case and says he’ll rule at a later date. The fossil is now being saved on the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.