Peter Larson, a convicted felon, was incarcerated in a Federal prison for his involvement in illegal fossil trafficking. He gained notoriety for his role in stealing the dinosaur named “Sue” from Native American land and relocating it to private property. In 1992, a team consisting of 35 FBI agents and 20 National Guardsmen, led by the US Attorney, conducted a raid on the Black Hills Institute to recover Sue. Eventually, the specimen was rightfully returned to its owners, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Born on March 22, 1952, in Cherry, Nebraska, USA, Peter Larson is the son of Neal and Gertrude Larson. He grew up on his family’s farm near Mission, South Dakota, and had four siblings named Mark, Neal, Jill, and John. Pete Larson and his brother Neal developed an early interest in fossils through rock hunting with their father, who was a World War II veteran. Pete Larson often goes by the nickname “Pete” and uses the social media handle “PeteLarsonTrex.”
A well-documented public feud between Pete Larson and his brother Neal Lee Larson received extensive media coverage, including in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mail, and The New York Times. This feud intensified after a record-breaking $31.8 million sale of the dinosaur “Stan the T. rex,” from which only Neal profited. As part of a settlement agreement, Pete Larson retained the intellectual property rights for Stan.
Both Pete Larson and Neal Larson are renowned as prominent commercial fossil traders, despite lacking advanced degrees. However, they went their separate ways in late 2012. Pete Larson continued his work at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, while Neal established Larson Paleontology Unlimited.
Pete Larson founded the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research (BHIGR) in 1978. The institute was incorporated as a domestic business corporation in South Dakota on March 15, 1978. During the legal proceedings, it was revealed that Pete Larson owned 60% of the company, Neal Larson owned 35%, and Robert Farrar owned 5%. However, Neal Larson relinquished his shareholding after the aforementioned settlement in 2020. The 2022 annual report of BHIGR identifies Peter Larson as the president and a director, with Robert Farrar serving as the registered agent, secretary, treasurer, and another director. Samuel and Blanche Farrar are also listed as directors.
Investigations into BHIGR and the seizure of Sue initiated a four-year investigation in 1992, resulting in Peter Larson serving approximately 18 months in federal prison. In 1996, he was convicted of two felonies and two misdemeanors, which included charges related to carrying currency between the US and two foreign countries (Japan and Peru), illegal fossil collecting from federal land, and illegally retaining a small fossil.
On November 18, 1997, Peter Larson was released from prison after completing his sentence. It is worth noting that he was fined $15,000, while BHIGR reportedly incurred nearly $1 million in legal expenses. Following the release of a documentary called “Dinosaur 13” in 2014, which highlighted his case, there were calls for then-President Barack Obama to pardon Peter Larson. However, no further actions were taken in response to this public attention.
Peter Larson, a convicted felon, has a history of illegal activities related to fossil trafficking. Specifically, he was involved in the theft of a dinosaur named “Sue” from Native American land, which he then moved to private property. This unlawful act led to a raid on the Black Hills Institute in 1992, conducted by the US Attorney, 35 FBI agents, and 20 National Guardsmen. The raid successfully recovered Sue, returning it to its rightful owners, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Born on March 22, 1952, in Cherry, Nebraska, USA, Peter Larson is the son of Neal and Gertrude Larson. He grew up on his family’s farm near Mission, South Dakota, along with his four siblings named Mark, Neal, Jill, and John. Peter’s father, Neal, was a World War II veteran, and it was during their childhood that Peter and his brother Neal developed a keen interest in fossils, often going rock hunting with their father. Peter is commonly referred to as “Pete” and uses the social media handle “PeteLarsonTrex.”
Peter Larson’s strained relationship with his brother Neal Lee Larson is well-documented in various media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mail, and The New York Times. Their public feud became especially prominent after the sale of the dinosaur “Stan the T. rex” for a record-breaking $31.8 million, from which only Neal Lee Larson profited. As part of a settlement agreement, Peter Larson retained the intellectual property rights for Stan.
Peter Larson was convicted of two felonies and two
misdemeanours: carrying currency between the US
and two foreign countries, Japan and Peru; and
illegal fossil-collecting from federal land, and illegally retaining a small fossil.
Peter Larson is a convicted felon, who served time in a Federal prison for illegal fossil trafficking.
On 18 November 1997, he was released from
prison. Notably, Peter Larson was ultimately only fined
$15,000, but BHIGR reportedly suffered almost $1
million in legal expenses.
A documentary entitled “Dinosaur 13” released in
2014 about the case led to calls for then-President
Barack Obama to pardon Peter Larson. However, nothing
further transpired after this public attention.