DRI Busts High-Stakes Whale Vomit Smuggling Racket; Ambergris Worth Rs 32 Cr Seized

Chennai: In a major victory for India’s flora and fauna, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has successfully dismantled a large-scale smuggling operation involving precious whale vomit, known as ambergris.

Acting on a credible tip-off, DRI officers apprehended a group of five individuals near the Tuticorin Coast in Tamil Nadu. The seizure of 18.1 kg of ambergris, valued at approximately Rs 31.67 crores in the illicit market, marks a significant blow to this illegal trade.

The interception of the suspects’ vehicle near the Harbour Beach coast on the night of May 18 led to the discovery and subsequent confiscation of 18.1 kg of ambergris. Ambergris is derived from sperm whales, a protected species listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The possession, export, and transportation of ambergris are strictly prohibited in India due to their endangered source.

With heightened awareness and stringent measures, the DRI has been actively reinforcing its vigilance and surveillance in coastal areas to combat smuggling attempts targeting the nation’s precious flora and fauna. The smuggling of ambergris, which threatens the delicate ecological balance, has drawn particular attention from authorities.

This recent operation adds to the DRI’s success in tackling the illegal trade in ambergris. Over the past two years, they have seized a total of 40.52 kg of this valuable substance, worth Rs 54 crores in the global market, that was destined for smuggling out of India through the Tuticorin coast. The relentless efforts of the DRI have dealt a severe blow to criminal networks involved in this illicit trade.

Apprehension and Judicial Custody: As a result of their swift action, the DRI has successfully apprehended four individuals hailing from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, who were actively involved in the smuggling racket. These culprits are currently in judicial custody, facing legal consequences for their illicit activities.

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