BANGKOK – Thai authorities have seized 422 pieces of elephant tusks and arrested a Gambian man suspected of smuggling the ivory.
Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri said Tuesday the tusks were hidden in a shipment listed as unprocessed gemstones. He said the parcel was examined because items from Malawi are regarded as high-risk for smuggled goods and because an ivory seizure last year had involved tusks from Mozambique that were similarly concealed.
Kulit said Friday's seizure of 330 kilograms (726 pounds) of smuggled ivory worth around $480,000 was the first in Thailand this year. Thai customs officials last year confiscated more than 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of ivory in nine separate cases.