KOCHI: A team of forest officers raided an apartment in Tripunithura here and arrested five youths while they were trying to sell two elephant tusks on Tuesday. P A Jaleel, Range Forest Officer, flying squad, Perumbavoor, said the elephant tusks, weighing 1.046kg and 1.226kg, were seized from the five youths – Roshan Ramkumar, 29, of Tripunithura; Shebin Sasi, 28, of Eroor; Midhun T M, 26, of Irinjalakuda; Sanoj T A, 30, and Shemeer K R, 36, of Paravoor.
The gang had been demanding Rs 1 crore for the tusks, which are said to be worth Rs 40 lakh in the international market. Posing as prospective buyers, a team led by Ernakulam Forest flying squad DFO Raju K Francis contacted the gang, which was staying at Jasmine Apartment on Irumpanam road. This is the second elephant tusk seizure this month. On January 6, employees of Valara forest station under the Neriyamangalam range had arrested a man and seized two elephant tusks.
The arrest came following a search which was launched after an elephant bone was found on the land owned by Abdul Salim of Kullamankuzhi. A male elephant had been electrocuted and Santhosh, 45, a worker, had cut its tusks and kept them in his house. The team led by range officer Arun K Nair and deputy ranger R Ajay had raided his house and recovered the tusks.