DRI Busts Smuggling Racket, Seizes Rs 31.67 Crore Worth of Ambergris at Tuticorin Coast

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In a significant operation, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officers have intercepted a smuggling racket and seized 18.1 kilograms of ambergris at the Tuticorin coast, with an estimated value of Rs 31.67 crore in the illicit market. Ambergris, a substance produced by sperm whales and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, is strictly prohibited for possession, export, or transport.

Acting on reliable information, DRI officers intercepted a vehicle carrying five individuals suspected to be part of the smuggling gang. The officers discovered the stash of ambergris weighing 18.1 kilograms in the front seat of the vehicle. The seizure took place near the coast of Harbour Beach in Tuticorin, which serves as a potential route for smuggling the contraband to Sri Lanka. Subsequently, four individuals from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, believed to be actively involved in the smuggling attempt, were arrested and remanded under judicial custody. The finance ministry released a statement praising the efforts of DRI in their continuous efforts to safeguard flora and fauna by intensifying surveillance and vigilance in coastal areas.

Over the past two years, DRI has successfully seized approximately 40.52 kilograms of ambergris, valued at Rs 54 crore in the international market, in smuggling attempts originating from the Tuticorin coast. Ambergris, highly sought after for its use in perfume production, remains strictly regulated under the Wildlife Protection Act, making its sale and possession illegal. The recent operation serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle against wildlife smuggling and highlights the determination of authorities to curb such illegal activities. The successful bust not only represents a blow to the smugglers but also reinforces the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect endangered species and preserve the country’s natural heritage.

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