Thai authorities have seized 422 pieces of elephant tusks and arrested a Gambian man suspected of smuggling the ivory, customs officials said.
The cut-up tusks were hidden in a shipment listed as unprocessed gemstones, Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri said.
The parcel was examined because Malawi is regarded as high-risk for smuggled goods and because a seizure last year had involved Mozambique ivory that was similarly concealed.
Kulit said Friday’s seizure of 330 kilograms of smuggled ivory worth US$480,000 was the first in Thailand this year.
Thai customs officials last year confiscated more than 1,200 kilograms of ivory in nine separate cases.
Sainy Jagne, 41, of Gambia was arrested in Bangkok on Sunday when he attempted to pick up the contraband, Kulit said. He faces charges of violating customs and wildlife protection laws.
The customs official didn’t say where the smuggled ivory was being sent or if other people were suspected of involvement. There is an almost total international ban on the trade in ivory.