An ivory smuggling racket was busted in a joint operation by the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau, Dharmapuri Forest Division and the Protection and Vigilance Wing of Forest Department here on Thursday. Three persons were arrested, while 10 others including two of the main accused and two middlemen are absconding.
The operation came into being following a tip off from the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau, regional office, Chennai, that a gang involved in ivory sale was on the move in Dharmapuri.
District Forest Officer K.V.A. Naidu told The Hindu multiple teams were deployed for patrolling at various checkpoints.
At 8 a.m. on Thursday, a vehicle and a two-wheeler was intercepted at the Sogathur junction, and three men were apprehended.
Two tusks were also seized from them. Another group of men in another car fled the spot.
Among the absconding were the main accused, Sethu and Shaktivel, from Eriyur block of Pennagaram and suspected to be the organisers of the ivory smuggling racket, said Mr. Naidu. Suresh and Annamalai, who were mediators for buyers and sellers, are also from Pennagaram.
According to Mr. Naidu, preliminary interrogation has revealed that the accused were primarily from Eriyur, Nagamarai and Neruppur in Pennagaram.
M.Chinnaswamy (29) from Pavalandur, M.Vinod (22) from Bilingundlu, and Karthik (32) from Neruppur, from Pennagaram and Eriyur blocks, who were arrested, were support workers helping in the transport and loading.
The forest teams are combing the district and the various halt point to track the movement of the accused, he said.
“We now know the identity of the main men and they will be arrested soon,” Mr. Naidu said.
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