Global police in 'huge' wildlife contraband haul: Europol

Global police in 'huge' wildlife contraband haul: Europol
A road roller crushes smuggled elephant tusks, that had been confiscated
PHOTO: Reuters

THE HAGUE - Global police have seized "huge amounts" of wildlife contraband, including 12 tonnes of ivory, rhino horn and whale bones, in a massive operation across 62 countries, Europol said on Thursday.

"Operation COBRA III, the biggest ever coordinated international law enforcement operation targeting the illegal trade in endangered species, has led to the recovery of a huge amount of wildlife contraband," Europe's police agency said in a statement.

The two-month-long operation involving 62 European, African, American and Asian states saw police seize 119 rhino horns, with 11,439 dead and live specimens recovered in Europe alone, Europol said from its Hague-based headquarters.

It included 16 whale ribs in the Netherlands, 20 kilogrammes (441 pounds) of live leeches in Bulgaria and 10,000 dead seahorses in Britain.

"Several individuals have been arrested and investigations are continuing in many countries," Europol said without giving the number of arrests.

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