Alleged wildlife smuggling kingpin jailed in Thailand

An anti-trafficking group says a court in Thailand has sentenced a 41-year-old Thai man believed to be a kingpin in the illicit wildlife trade to 2 ½ years in prison for smuggling rhinoceros horns.

The group Freeland said Friday that the court in Samut Prakarn province convicted Boonchai Bach this week in the shipment of 11 kilograms (24.2 pounds) of rhino horns from Africa worth $700,000. The rhino horns were seized in December when a Chinese smuggler was arrested at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.

The group said a relative of Boonchai's was caught when he sought to pick up the shipment, leading to Boonchai's arrest in January.

Rhino horns are used in some Asian medicines and viewed as aphrodisiacs. The ultimate buyers of the horns are often in China and Vietnam.