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DRI seizes 781 Bengal Monitor Lizard Hemipenes, 19.6 kg soft corals near Nashik

Nashik: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) thwarted an attempt to traffic endangered wildlife species near Nashik, Maharashtra. The operation resulted in the seizure of 781 Bengal Monitor Lizard Hemipenes, locally known as "Hatha Jodis," and 19.6 kg of soft corals, both listed under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, an official release said.
According to an official release, acting on specific intelligence, a team of DRI officers from Mumbai laid a trap for the traffickers. Despite the trafficker's evasive manoeuvres, including changing locations multiple times over nearly three hours, the officers managed to apprehend the individual in a tribal hamlet with challenging terrain.
The extremely cautious trafficker initially called the buyers, who were closely monitored by the DRI team, to Nandagaon railway station (Nashik district) but kept on changing locations for nearly 3 hours, finally deciding to exchange at a tribal hamlet with an extremely harsh terrain consisting of thorny scrubland with no scope for movement of four-wheelers, the release read.
3-4 reconnaissance patrol groups on bikes were engaged by the traffickers throughout the area to continuously monitor the area.
The DRI team evaded identification by the patrol groups by displaying blue flags on their vehicle and blending in with many other vehicles that displayed the same due to the impending Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations.
As the trafficker brought the contraband for exchange, the team tried to rush in but were stopped by a patrol group on a bike. Further, the trafficker was alerted and, in no time, the team was surrounded by 30-odd tribals who started pelting stones at the officers. Using this opportunity, the trafficker and his associates tried to run away with the contraband.
However, the officers chased them for over half a kilometre on foot in the rough terrain, managing to apprehend the trafficker and rare species near Nashik.
The seized wildlife articles, along with the detained individual, were handed over to the Maharashtra State Forest Officials for further action under the Wildlife Protection Act.
This successful operation highlights the DRI's dedication to combating wildlife crimes and underscores the importance of coordinated efforts among law enforcement agencies. 

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