Home/ News / India/  DRI busts smuggling cartel; seizes ambergris worth 31.7 crore

New Delhi: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has bust a major smuggling cartel, intercepting a haul of 18.1 kg of ambergris valued at around 31.67 crore in the illicit market, an official statement said on Saturday.

The anti-smuggling operation was carried out at the Tuticorin coast. Ambergris, a byproduct of sperm whales, is illegal to possess, export, or transport in India as the marine mammal is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. DRI seized the ambergris along with the vehicle used in the smuggling operation, the statement said

Acting on a tip-off that a gang would try to smuggle ambergris from India to Sri Lanka via sea, DRI officers, on the night of May 18, apprehended a vehicle carrying five individuals at Tuticorin. A search of the vehicle yielded 18.1 kg of ambergris concealed under the front seat, the statement said. The suspects, now in custody, confessed to their intention to smuggle, the statement said.

Over the past two years, the DRI has intensified its efforts to combat such illicit activities, particularly along the country's coastal regions. These efforts have resulted in the seizure of around 40.52 kg of ambergris, worth Rs. 54 crore in the international market, all of which was poised to be smuggled from the Tuticorin Coast.

Four people from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, alleged to be actively involved in this latest smuggling attempt, were arrested and have since been placed under judicial custody. Further investigation is under progress, DRI said.

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Updated: 20 May 2023, 04:03 PM IST
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