The rhino horn was supposed to be sold in Kathmandu in a whopping amount of Rs 50 lakh. Credit: EastMojo Image

Darjeeling: Acting on a tip-off, forest officials, under Belakoba forest range, apprehended three Bhutanese citizens while they were trying to smuggle a rhino horn and ivory in Jalpaiguri district recently. A rhino horn, an ivory, credit cards, mobile phones, bank cheque books, passport and a hunting knife were also seized from their possession.

During interrogation, the arrested persons reportedly confessed that they received the rhino horn from a person based in the BTAD area of Assam.

Informing this, Sanjay Dutt, ranger, Belakoba forest range, said that the rhino horn was supposed to be sold in Kathmandu. “I along with my team approached the suspected in disguise and they revealed that they are in possession of a rhino horn which is supposed to be sold in Kathmandu for a whopping amount of Rs 50 lakh. The operation was conducted at Sulka More of Nagrakata.”

During the operation, the team of the forest officials also seized a vehicle (bearing Regd. No. BP-2-A/5173). “At that moment, we apprehended all the three miscreants. During the search operation, we recovered a bag containing a rhino horn and an elephant tusk from the bag. The rhino horn weighed 1,030 grams and the tusk weighed 500.05 grams,” he said. The arrested persons have been identified as Sonam Dorji (41), Kinzing Wangdi (46) and Sonam Dorji (42).

During interrogation, it’s been revealed that out of the three arrested Bhutanese nationals, two of them are government contractors. One of them is the owner of R.K. Transport and is involved in export-import business dealing with South Asian nations besides the Arabic countries. The other person is the librarian of Jigmesherup Liang Central School, a Bhutan government educational institution.

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