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A federal indictment in Salt Lake City unveiled charges against four individuals related to the illegal trade of significant paleontological resources.

Vint Wade, 65, and Donna Wade, 67, from Moab, Utah, along with Steven Willing, 67, of Los Angeles, and his son, Jordan Willing, 40, of Ashland, Oregon, face accusations of breaching the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA) and other felonies.

The charges involve the alleged purchase, transportation, and exportation of dinosaur bones, valued over $1 million, to China between March 2018 and March 2023. The indictment highlighted the extraction of these resources from federal territories around Moab, Utah, particularly in the Morrison Formation. Notably, two other unindicted individuals were also mentioned, purported to have supplied the Wades with these resources.

The indictment claimed that the Wades stored and sold the obtained resources at gem shows, supplying them to the Willings. The duo, operating under JMW Sales Inc, allegedly exported the bones to China, mislabeling them to deceive federal agents and undervalue the resources. The actions reportedly caused over $3 million in damages, considering the commercial and scientific worth of the relics and restoration costs.

Attorney Rachel Cannon, defending Jordan Willing, stated her client “vigorously disputes the allegations.” Initial court appearances began Thursday, with Jordan Willing entering a not-guilty plea. Reflecting on the gravity of the allegations, U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins commented on the loss of the bones’ “science and wonder” for future generations.


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