Two male suspects were arrested when officials found 24 elephant tusks and 16 elephant tails hidden in their pick-up truck’s cargo bed in Tak’s Mae Sot district on Wednesday.
Following their arrest at a checkpoint in Ban Huai Ya Oo, the two suspects – driver Saithan Maliwan, 45, and his passenger, mahout Boonpeng Utaway, 54 – reportedly confessed to police that they had brought the items from a Myanmar national in the border area.
Their plan was to sell the items to customers in the Northeast who would make them into decorative items or talismans, Tak police deputy chief Pol Colonel Thararak Parameesa said as he inspected the seized items at Phawor Police Station on Wednesday afternoon.
The two men were initially charged with possessing the carcasses of protected wildlife and unauthorised possession of elephant tusks. The Elephant Ivory Tusk Act 2015 sets the punishment for illegal ivory trading at a three-year jail term and a Bt6-million fine.
Police are now attempting to find the two men’s accomplices.
Thararak said the arrest was made under the Royal Thai Police’s policy to crackdown on the wildlife and ivory trade to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).