Customs seized 17 million baht worth of African ivory

Customs officials at Suvarnabhumi international airport’s cargo terminal on Sunday arrested a Gambian as he showed up to claim eight crates of uncut stones which were found to contain 422 pieces of ivory worth about 17 million baht.

The eight crates which were declared to contain uncut stones arrived in two shipments of 1,026 kgs and 898 kgs from Ethiopia on March 3 and 4 respectively and were kept at the customs warehouse awaiting their owner to make the claim.

Customs officials at the warehouse then X-rayed the eight crates and found they contained a mixture of uncut stones and ivory pieces. A team of customs officials was then ordered to keep a close watch on anyone who showed up to claim the goods.

On Sunday, A Gambian national showed up to claim the eight crates, but he was asked to escort customs officials to the location of the crates which were opened up one by one in the presence of the Gambian.

The officials counted 422 ivory pieces weigh 330 kgs.

The Gambian, meanwhile, was detained on charges of attempting to smuggle restricted goods into the country.

For the past three years, customs officials seized over three tonnes of African ivory tusks and arrested 24 suspected smugglers.