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Men held in Sweden for trading rhino horn

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Men held in Sweden for trading rhino horn
07:50 CEST+02:00
Two men are in police custody in Sweden on suspicion of having tried to illegally trade in the horn from the rhinoceros, which is classed as an endangered species.

The two men, one in his thirties and one in his fifties, were arrested in Stockholm following an extended surveillance operation and are currently being held on suspicion of breaching the endangered species act.

"This is a matter of serious organized crime. A single rhino horn can be sold on the black market for a million kronor ($149,000)", said police inspector Filippo Bassini to the Dagens Juridik daily.

Police believe that the men are part of a broader criminal network which is also involved in trafficking, copyright piracy and armed robbery.

The men have been under surveillance for several years and were finally arrested while coming out of an auction house in central Stockholm a couple of weeks ago.

According to Filippo Bassini, the arrest is the first of its kind in Sweden and in Europe.

The trading in rhinoceros horn is prohibited under the 1999 Environment Act and as the species in this case is listed as endangered, the suspected offence is classified as aggravated.

If found guilty the pair risk imprisonment of up to four years.

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