Thane (Maharashtra): Two alleged smugglers were arrested on Tuesday in Thane by the local crime branch for carrying a pair of elephant tusks.
Ramchandra Krishnappa Latte, a resident of Belgaum in Karnataka, and Rajendra Jadhav, a resident of Pune were arrested while trying to sell the ivory tusks.
Crime Branch has seized four cellphones from these smugglers.
The cellphones reveal the contact numbers of several suspected smugglers in South India and Mumbai, police said.
The accused, police said, were trying to send the ivory tusks to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in order to smuggle them out of India.
One kg of ivory fetches more than $1,000 in the international market and it is much in demand in China, where the affluent consider ornaments made of ivory as a sign of good fortune.
Tens of thousands of elephants have been killed for their tusks in recent years in Africa, mostly from Togo and neighbouring countries.
Malaysia,Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines are the main transit points in Asia for large scale ivory smuggling that arrive from Africa, according to Richard Thomas, a spokesman for Traffic, an NGO that monitors trade in endangered wildlife.