Joint operation with Thai and US law enforcement agencies leads to the arrest of suspected high-level wildlife trafficker

Officers of the Royal Thai Police Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (RTP NED), supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Wildlife Justice Commission, arrested a suspected high-level wildlife trafficker for actions related to the illegal pet trade during a joint operation conducted last week in Bangkok.

The suspect had been linked by the Wildlife Justice Commission to an extended transnational criminal network operating across South and Southeast Asia and specialised in the trafficking of big cats and primates. A leopard cub was seized at the time of the arrest and taken to safety.

The trafficking of live wildlife for the pet trade is a multi-million-dollar criminal industry that continues to grow in scale, driven by increasing global demand for rare species. It increases pressure on already vulnerable populations of highly sought-after animals.

The arrest of this suspect was the culmination of five years of investigations as the Wildlife Justice Commission’s undercover investigators and crime analysts were finally able to draw out this highly elusive suspected trafficker and facilitate his arrest by the RTP NED with the support of the USFWS.

It takes a network to defeat a network

This case demonstrates the results that can be achieved when public-private partnerships work together to detect and disrupt transnational organised wildlife crime.

This crucial result is only possible thanks to your support. Whilst this arrest is a major victory for law enforcement and the Wildlife Justice Commission, other actors will rise to take his place. We will use the evidence gathered through this arrest to continue our investigations into the trafficking of live wildlife, and to support the efforts of law enforcement agencies to fight wildlife crime.