KOCHI: A team of officers from the forest flying squad has raided a house at Panampilly Nagar in the city and arrested five persons while they were trying to sell sandalwood. The team seized 92 kg of sandalwood worth Rs 20 lakh, which was kept in the backyard of the house.
The arrested are Saju Sebastian of Thodupuzha, Nishad of Adimali, Roy of Anaviratti in Idukki, Sinu Thomas of Thamarassery in Kozhikode and Sajan K G of Adimali. According to flying squad DFO Manu Sathyan, Saju is the kingpin.
The forest intelligence wing got information about the operation of the gang, and informed the Ernakulam flying squad. “We contacted the gang as prospective buyers and were invited to see the sandalwood on Saturday morning. We checked the sandalwood logs kept in the backyard of the house, and after confirmation the five were detained. They had taken the house on rent claiming that they were timber dealers,” said Manu.