Gabon says major ivory trafficking ring dismantled, 9 held

Gabon says a major ivory trafficking ring that smuggled more than 600 tusks out of the country in 2017 has been dismantled, in a victory against poachers who have killed large numbers of forest elephants in the Central African country.

Gabon's national parks agency says the Chadian head of the syndicate, Abdoulaye Mohamoud Ibrahim, and eight accomplices were arrested on Nov. 1 after a two-year investigation assisted by Interpol and French law enforcement.

Lee White, the parks service director, says in an email to The Associated Press that the arrests were not immediately announced because the investigation was continuing and suspects would have gone "underground" if there had been publicity.

White says the suspects could be imprisoned for at least 10 years if convicted on organized crime charges.