Massive ivory smuggling bid via Colombo bustedMay 22, 2012, 10:29 pm
By Madura Ranwala
Sri Lanka Customs yesterday busted a massive ivory smuggling racket. On examining a container being shipped to Dubai from Kenya via the port of Colombo, they found a large stock of elephant tusks.
The discovery was the biggest ever of African Elephant tusks.
The Customs officials, who checked one of three suspicious containers, in transit at the Grayline-2 Examination Bay in the port of Colombo discovered 600 tusks, worth millions of dollars, concealed in poly bags containing plastic scrap.
Of the other two containers, one contained teak logs. They held back to ascertain whether they were really teak. The other was cleared as the draft declaration sent by the Kenyan Customs matched its contents.
The contraband could not be valued as it was an item whose sale had been prohibited a Customs officers said. However, he said that the black market price was around US 1,000 dollars per kilo.
The racketeers had used dried fish packed poly bags to avoid detection as stench that would be produced by the decaying flesh on the tusks would be a give away.
Director of the Customs Preventive Division Ranjan Canagasabai said that the contraband forfeited by the Customs would be distributed among the temples in the country.
Deputy Director of Customs, attached to Bio Diversity Cultural and National Heritage, Samantha Gunasekara said that the large quantity of plastic scrap would be disposed in an environment friendly manner.
The Central Intelligence Division of Sri Lanka Customs detected the contraband with the assistance of the International Customs organisations on May 15 though it was examined yesterday after proper documentation procedures. The shipment arrived at the Colombo port on May 14.
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Last Updated May 23 2013 | 10:49 pm