Millennium Post

DRI seizes cache of arms, animal skins in Delhi, UP

The DRI on Sunday claimed to have busted an international syndicate engaged in smuggling of high-end firearms and animal skins following raids conducted in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

A joint team of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Wild Life Department effected the seizures on Saturday following interception of a Slovenian national and two of his accomplices from Indira Gandhi International Airport here.

"Acting on intelligence, the DRI officers intercepted three passengers, including a Slovenian national and two Indian arms suppliers, at IGI airport on Saturday. They were travelling by Turkish Airlines from Slovenia via Istanbul carrying 25 illegally imported weapons," a DRI spokesperson said.

The passengers, he said, had made wrong declarations to customs about the quality and value of the firearms they were importing and tried to get these items cleared by misusing the scheme and import policy meant for renowned shooters.

Subsequently, a DRI team, in a joint operation with the Wild Life Department, carried out searches at the premises of the two Indian arms suppliers in Delhi and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. More than 100 imported firearms made in Italy, Austria and Germany were recovered, the spokesperson said.

"Over two lakh cartridges, hides of leopard, black buck and sambar; skulls, horns and meat of various endangered animals; expensive cameras and thermal imaging binoculars were also seized from the raided premises of these individuals who belong to an international smuggling syndicate," he said.

"Cash amounting to Rs 1 crore was also seized," he added.

One of the suspects is believed to have recently killed a leopard near Jim Corbett National Park wildlife sanctuary in Uttarakhand.

Animal skins and body parts find a lucrative market in the West and China where animal meat is used in aphrodisiac preparations. The sophisticated firearms find an Indian market among those engaged in poaching of endangered species, the spokesperson said.

DRI was also trying to find the kingpin of the international syndicate and ascertain for how long they have been engaged in this activity, he added.
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