TIRUPATI: Forest department officials of Nellore district, in a joint operation with Central Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, South India region, have busted an inter-state gang involved in illegal trade of red sand boas and arrested seven persons, apart from rescuing a reptile.
District forest officer (DFO) Shanmukha Kumar said, “A team led by B. Rajendra Prasad, forest range officer of Venkatagiri, and Sk. Rangeswaran, circle inspector, Wildlife Crime Bureau, Chennai, conducted a sting operation in the district on Friday. In the process, the team caught a gang of seven members red-handed while trading in a red sand boa on Chennai-Kolkata National Highway at Naidupeta,” the DFO explained.
The gang was illegally transporting the sand boa, costing Rs 70 lakh in the underground market, to Tamil Nadu. Sand boas are used in making certain medicines, fashion industry and black magic.
Besides arresting the accused, the team also rescued the reptile. Two laptops, two cars and eight mobile phones have been seized from the gang members. “We are digging deeper into the incident,” Shanmukha Kumar maintained.
Those arrested have been identified as D. Ashok Reddy, 22, B. Ravindra Reddy, 24, V. Vamsi Sekhar, 23, R. Jeevan Kumar, 22, G. Govardhan Reddy, 24, N. Munikrishnamachari, 38 and K. Bhaskar, 28.