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September 16, 2009

News Article:

U.S. officials returned to China fossils seized at various ports of entry in the United States Monday. Among the returned items are the jaw bones of a saber toothed cat and fossils of dinosaur eggs which have been authenticated by experts from the Virginia Museum of Natural History as being some 60-million years old.

Chinese officials spoke highly of the return of the cultural relics.

Xie Feng, Chinese deputy chief of mission, said, "The repatriation of historic and cultural artifacts back to China has opened up a new era for bi-lateral law enforcement cooperation."

The case involves the seizure of parcels at Chicago's O'Hare airport and Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C. by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers in 2006 and 2007. An investigation is ongoing by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But so far, no one has been arrested in either country for smuggling the fossils out of China and into the United States.

John Morton, assistant secretary, said, "Transnational crime between China and the United States and vice versa is a particular concern for us simply because here are two very large and powerful sovereigns in the world and there's a lot of very good and legitimate trade and travel between those two countries but with that trade and travel also comes some misconduct and we're very focused on working to attack that."

Morton continued by saying that a general recognition and full assistance of both sides are key in tackling such crimes.


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