Jakarta – The Lampung Police have arrested three individuals who were allegedly engaged in illegal elephant ivory trade in the region.
Lampung Police spokesperson Comr. Zahwani Pandra Arsyad said the suspects – identified as BT, TW and AS – had been apprehended in a hotel in Pringsewu regency on Wednesday.
"Our officers received information that an illegal transaction involving elephant ivory was about to take place. Following an investigation, the three perpetrators were indeed planning to sell tusks," Pandra said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
After confirming the trade, a joint team consisting of the Lampung Police's general crimes unit and personnel from the South Bukit Barisan National Park (TNBBS) was deployed to foil the illicit activity.
Police seized two tusks as evidence, each measuring about 50 centimeters, and said all three suspects were being questioned about the origin of the tusks.
In addition, police confiscated nine ivory smoking pipes and three unprocessed elephant teeth.
The suspects were charged under Articles 21 and 40 of Law. 5/1900 on the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems.
"They face up to five years in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million (US$6,721)," Pandra said.
The government has stepped up its measures to crack down on illegal ivory trade in recent years.
In April, investigators from the Environment and Forestry Ministry arrested three individuals on suspicion of illegal online trade in ivory and other products from elephants and other endangered animals.The trio allegedly sold jewelry and other accessories like cigarette holders through three separate Facebook accounts. (rfa)