1.3 ton of ivory seized in a crackdown on a West African criminal syndicate

1.3 ton of ivory seized and 3 traffickers arrested in a crackdown on a West African criminal syndicate. The 2 Guinean nationals and one Liberian were arrested during a raid of the fortified house that was used to hide contraband stocks.

Kromah Moazu, the main trafficker arrested is at the center of a vast ring of organized wildlife criminals, dealing in multi millions dollars illicit profits. He is connected to at least 4 other major criminal syndicates in Africa. He is also in charge of supplying rhino horns and ivory to the biggest wildlife criminal syndicates known worldwide - in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. He was arrested together with 2 Guinean nationals during a raid of the fortified house that was used to hide contraband stocks.

An EAGLE Network long term investigation and cross-country collaboration with GALF team exposed the criminal ring specializing in large scale trafficking of both ivory as well as rhino horns. Their activities connected a dozen more countries, the most prominent of them is Vietnam – the chief player in the illegal trade in rhino horn.

One of the three was already arrested in Uganda and escaped, allegedly using corruption and complicity to evade justice. He was subject to an arrest warrant in Uganda and was tracked by EAGLE Network investigation in his hiding in Guinea and followed back to Uganda.

The ring was recorded negotiating a bribe of 50,000 USD to law enforcement officials. Corruption has been central in their modus operandi.

The traffickers are also connected to other seizures including 790 kg of ivory seized in Uganda’s airport last March destined to Singapore and concealed in barrels of Shea Butter - an extract of the nut of the African shea tree, is an ivory-colored fat often used in cosmetics.

“We used high level investigations and international collaboration to track down these criminals,” Said Vincent Opyene, the Head of EAGLE-Uganda and NRCN, “Ivory kingpins should know they are getting into an era where they are no longer safe, wherever they may try to hide.”