NASA sting leads to arrest of woman trying to sell moon rock

May 20 2011 - 1:51pm

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A woman claiming to sell a moon rock was arrested in Lake Elsinore in Riverside County on Thursday morning as part of an undercover sting by NASA investigators aided by local police.

The investigation, which spanned several months, led to a covert meeting in a Lake Elsinore restaurant where undercover officials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration agreed to buy the rock for $1.7 million, according to a report by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

When the woman produced the artifact, several police investigators and NASA agents swooped in.

"NASA agents took possession of the moon rock and interviewed the female suspect. At this time the investigation is ongoing," a Sheriff's Department press release stated.

The name of the woman has not been released. Sheriff's officials said neither her identity nor any more details of the case have been made available to them. Federal agents told them the case was on a "need-to-know basis."

Moon rocks are classified as "national treasures" and federal law prohibits the sale of the artifacts.

(c) 2011, Los Angeles Times.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

 

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