Operation Medusa

Operation Medusa resulted in an 18-month jail sentence for a major rhino horn trafficker in Vietnam. Information gathered by the Wildlife Justice Commission investigators led to a raid on a private house in Hanoi, and the arrest of the known trafficker and ring-leader.

A suspect who led one of the five wildlife crime networks in Vietnam was captured as he tried to flee with 14 rhino horns. Following his capture, he admitted to having four more horns. Investigators estimate the total value of all eighteen horns to be more than USD 250,000.

The success of Operation Medusa came as a result of ongoing work in Vietnam, including intelligence gathered during Operation Phoenix in 2016 and 2017. The intelligence gathered during that 18-month long investigation prompted the WJC´s first Public Hearing and an ongoing collaboration with Vietnam’s authorities. A new case file outlining compelling evidence of a criminal network trafficking more than USD 15 million worth of raw ivory and rhino horn was handed to the authorities in December 2017.

In February 2018, we provided information that led to the arrest of one male and the seizure of 970 kg of worked and raw ivory in Hanoi, equal to 97 elephants. This is the largest seizure of ivory by the Environmental Police in Vietnam.

We continue to work closely with the Environmental Police to target the high-level traffickers operating within Vietnam.