PHOTO: The interior of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. (photo via Flickr/Deep)
On Tuesday, officials in Thailand announced they had seized 21 large rhinoceros horns—smuggled from Ethiopia and worth almost $5 million.
According to The Associated Press, the Thai Customs Department said the horns were discovered Friday in luggage during a random search at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
The horns weighed around 110 pounds and were transported from the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa. The suspects are said to be two Thai women who arrived at the Bangkok airport on separate flights. When police found the horns, the two women ran away from authorities at the airport but were caught a short time later.
Arrest warrants have been issued for both suspects.
The horns, blood, skin and urine from Rhinoceros are highly valued both in China for traditional medicine and in Vietnam where they are considered luxury items. While the World Wildlife Fund said it’s possible to cut off a rhino's horn without killing it, the horns discovered Friday were likely taken after the rhinos were killed.
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“The rhino horns we confiscated this time are the most beautiful horns we've ever seized from this airport,” the Thai Customs Department said in a statement.
(This is the second time in the last two years that a major haul of rhino horns have been confiscated at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The previous horns discovered were valued at around $600,000.)
“These horns are huge, which means they came from big rhinos,” Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment director Somkiat Soontornpitakkool said.