NELLORE: The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) teams conducted simultaneous raids in Kaluvoya, Seetharamapuram and Dakkili mandals on Friday and arrested 19 smugglers.
TP Vithaleswar, OSD of Crimes, said they conducted concurrent raids in three mandals and apprehended 19 interstate smugglers, including two accused from Tamil Nadu, and recovered 60 red sanders logs weighing 772 kg and worth `80 lakh, one truck, one motorcycle, one scooty, 12 axes and six mobile phones from them. Two of the accused were from Ponneri in Tamil Nadu and five from Prakasam district. The remaining accused belong to Rapur, Dakkili and Venkatagiri of Nellore district.
The OSD also said smugglers from Tamil Nadu used to buy red sanders logs from local smugglers of Veligonda area and shift them to godowns in Chennai. They would book containers and again shift the red sanders logs to other parts of the globe through their contacts. Vithaleswar said when they tried to nab the smugglers in the three mandals, the Task Force personnel were attacked by axes, sticks and stones. In some places, they tried to hit the police jeeps with heavy vehicles. He said they had formed three teams to nab the rest of the smugglers in the respective forest areas.
As part of measures to curb the smuggling activity, the OSD said they had prepared a list of smugglers in the district to keep a constant vigil on their movements. As many as 32 cases were registered till now and 180 smugglers were arrested in the raids, besides seizing assets used for smuggling activity, the OSD said.
Atmakur DSP G Ramanjaneya Reddy, Gudur DSP VS Rambabu, Kavali DSP Raghu and other police officials were also present at the news conference.