Two Vietnamese heading for Hanoi were arrested in Paris for smuggling 95 kilograms of elephant tusks and ivory products from Ethiopia, the biggest ivory smuggling haul ever busted by French customs on air passengers.
The Vietnam News Agency cited a Thursday statement from French customs as saying that they found the illegal goods inside the suitcases of the Vietnamese man and woman as they transited at Charles de Gaulle on December 7.
The couple claimed they had no check-in luggage but security tests then found three elephant tusks, many small pieces and more than 1,500 ivory items including jewelry and chopsticks, the customs said.
Further investigation is continuing as the customs suspected that the two are part of a well-organized smuggling ring.
They said the haul is the biggest they ever caught from airline passengers. In June they also discovered 136 kilograms of ivory being shipped from the Democratic Republic of Congo en route to Vietnam.
Vietnam has banned ivory trade since the 1990s, and yet it has been fueled by the rising affluence in recent years and the demand for using ivories for decoration.
Animal rights activists say more than 100,000 elephants were shot dead for the ivory black market in Asia between 2010 and 2012.