Have you seen me: Red notice for suspected ivory trafficker

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Madi Conteh

 Courtesy of Interpol. March 2017

LYON, France – Interpol issued an internationally wanted persons Red Notice for a suspected ivory trafficker following the seizure of hundreds of pieces of elephant tusks in Thailand.

The Red Notice for Madi Conteh, a Gambian national, was published at the request of the Malawi authorities, where he is wanted on charges of ‘exporting government trophies without permit’. Conteh is suspected of concealing 330 kg of ivory pieces in a shipment falsely labeled as unprocessed gemstones sent from Malawi and seized in Bangkok in early March.

Due to heightened trafficking concerns following the recovery of illegal ivory in a similar shipment from Africa in 2016, customs authorities conducted additional checks of the cargo and discovered 442 pieces of ivory worth around USD 500,000 concealed in several containers.

Another Gambian national was arrested in Bangkok when he attempted to pick up the shipment containing the trafficked ivory. The two are suspected to be part of an ivory trafficking ring involved in smuggling elephant tusks from Africa to Asia.

Interpol’s Environmental Security unit is supporting the investigation through its Project Wisdom which assists member countries in combating the illegal trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn.

A new Interpol initiative launched in January targets traffickers in Asia sourcing wildlife from Africa, by providing a strengthened law enforcement response in source, transit and destination countries, particularly those linked to the illicit trade in ivory, rhinoceros horn and Asian big cat products.


Red Notice for rhino poacher

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Rajkumar Praja. Photo courtesy of Interpol

LYON, France – Interpol has issued a Red Notice international wanted persons notice for a man wanted for poaching rhinos on Nepalese park land.

According to Interpol, Rajkumar Praja, 30, of Nepal, is being sought to serve 15 years in prison for allegedly poaching rhinos in the Chitwan National Park and trading their horns on the international market.

Authorities in Nepal dismantled a network of 13 poachers earlier this year as part of the investigation.

Police arrested the alleged kingpin, 33-year-old Buddhi Bahadur Praja, in September along with eight poachets and four smugglers who brought the horns to neighboring Tibet, according to media accounts, which claim the group is behind 12 rhino slayings in the past six years.

Officers also seized two firearms — described as a rifle and musket or “country made pistol” — and four bullets (yes, only four).