KADAPA: In a big crackdown on red sanders smugglers, the Kadapa police on Thursday night arrested 72 smugglers and confiscated 77 logs weighing 1.5 tonne worth `1 crore from them.
Disclosing details to newsmen here, Pulivendula ASP Anburajan on Friday said the smugglers had tried to dupe the police by disguising themselves as a marriage party.
After reaching Chinnamandem village in Kadapa district, where a special team of police were conducting checks after a tip-off, the bus driver, Ramesh, tried to make an alleged escape. To slow down the vehicles, a few drums were placed on the road. But the bus without slowing down hit all the drums, which made the police suspect the inmates, the ASP said. After chasing the bus for a few kilometres, the police intercepted it.
However, after verifying their belongings, the police found some implements used to cut wood logs. A total of 30 woodcutter blades, 27 axes, one rice bag, water bottles were found hidden under the seats. A total of 77 logs were also being transported in the bus, he said. The police arrested all the 72 smugglers and seized the logs.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that among the 72 smugglers, 20 were said to be involved in the smuggling activity that took place near Srivari Mettu in Tirupati on April 7, where 20 woodcutters were killed in an encounter.