Emile Edouwodzi N’bouke, a suspected Togolese ivory smuggler, has been arrested in Lome, the capital of Togo.
The N’bouke known as ‘The Boss,’’ is considered by security agents as a kingpin in Togo’s ivory trade. He was found with 700kg of ivory by the anti-trafficking squad. Mr N’bouke, however, denied any involvement in exporting illegal ivory and said he dealt in bone ornaments.
In a similar development, customs officials in Hong Kong seized more than two tonnes of elephant tusks worth $2.2m (£1.6m) hidden in cargo from Togo. It was identified as the largest seizure since 2010, and was likely to have come from baby elephants.
The anti-trafficking squad seized five or size tusks from Mr N’bouke’s shop where he sold other ornaments made from animal bones.
Col Yao Kondi, head of the squad, said Mr N’bouke was a “kingpin” in the ivory trade and the unit’s investigations would continue into its trafficking.
He said that his main clients were in China, and he had imported ivory with permits from Chad since 1983, when it was legal to do so.