World

Thai authorities seize illegal ivory at airport in crates marked 'marble pieces'

  • Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    Thai customs officials display seized ivory during a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 6, 2015. Thai authorities seized more than 200 kilograms of ivory hidden in luggage shipped out from Congo to Laos. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)  (The Associated Press)

Thai authorities say they have seized 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of ivory — or about 130 tusks and pieces — hidden in crates being shipped from Africa to Asia.

Customs officials said Monday they intercepted wooden crates marked "marble pieces" that contained four suitcases with the ivory hidden inside at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday.

Customs deputy director-general Chamroen Photiyod said the ivory was worth about 10 million baht, or $300,000.

He said the shipment, which was headed to Laos, had originated in Congo and transited through several countries before Thai authorities stopped it.

This is the 11th ivory seizure the Thai Customs Department has made this year.

Thailand is a major transit hub and destination for smuggled tusks, which are often carved into tourist trinkets and ornaments.