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Tue Sep 30 20:12:01 SAST 2014

US cracks down on rhino horn smuggling ring

Sapa-AP | 23 February, 2012 10:24
Rhino horns. File photo.
Image by: BOBBY YIP / REUTERS

Federal wildlife investigators say they've broken up an international smuggling ring that trafficked in sawed-off rhinoceros horns for buyers in Vietnam and China who believe they cure cancer.

The Los Angeles Times says more than 150 federal agents led raids into homes and businesses in a dozen states over the weekend.

Three of the alleged traffickers caught in Southern California were 49-year-old Jimmy Kha, his 41-year-old girlfriend Mai Nguyen and Kha's 26-year-old son Felix.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says officials have shut down a major source of black market rhino horns in the lucrative international trade.

Officials also seized more than $1 million in cash, $1 million in gold bars, diamonds, Rolex watches and 20 rhino horns in the raids.

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