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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Irish gang on trial for alleged rhino horn smuggling

Nine alleged members of an international network of rhino horn and ivory traffickers have been arrested and are currently on trial in France.

They were arrested following an investigation into illegal trades between Europe and East Asia.

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The probe began after French police were conducting a motorway traffic inspection in September 2015 and upon searching a BMW, several elephant tusks and €32,800 in cash was discovered and seized.

The occupants of the car, who are believed to be antique dealers, were members of the Irish crime gang ‘the Rathkeale Rovers’.

The nine defendants, which include alleged traders of Chinese and Vietnamese origin, are on trial in the town of Rennes and face up to ten years in prison along with a heavy fine.

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According to French police, the ivory and rhino horns were turned into powder in France before being exported to Vietnam and China to be used in traditional medicine.

During the investigation, around 40 elephant tusks were discovered along with a 15kg rhino horn that was worth approximately €13 million, according to environmental group Robin des Bois.

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