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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Four held for attempt to smuggle sea cucumbers from Tuticorin

The police on 20th Feb. arrested four persons who were attempting to smuggle huge quantities of sea cucumbers, gastropods and starfish to Sri Lanka via Rameswaram.

Three motorised country boats, two cars, two motorcycles, 250 kg of `beche-de-mer' (dried processed sea cucumber), 250 kg of live sea cucumber, 172 gastropods, 300 litres of diesel, six LPG cylinders and 10 mobile phone sets, totally worth Rs.16 lakh, were seized from the accused.

According to experts, sea cucumbers, believed to have aphrodisiac properties, are widely used in Southeast Asian countries for preparing a health soup. A kilogram of sea cucumber fetched $50 in the international market.

Superintendent of Police John Nicholson told reporters that a police patrol team nabbed the accused from Threspuram shore. "Their interrogation revealed they were working for Meeraza and had transported contraband posing a threat to national security to Rameswaram. From there it was handed over to middlemen enroute to Sri Lanka."

The police are now on the look out for Meeraza, his accomplice Kannan and a "prominent" person of Ramanathapuram district.

Mr. Nicholson said patrolling had been strengthened along the 120-km coastline in the district. "We have established 11 coastal check-posts, besides five check-posts set up by the Coast Guard, to prevent infiltration and smuggling of goods to Sri Lanka."

Source: The Hindu

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