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Rashmi Ranjan

In a major breakthrough, the Andhra Police busted an international sandalwood smuggling racket and arrested 11 members of the gang on Thursday.

According to sources, the police have seized 396 sandalwood logs weighing 4200 kg worth over Rs 2 crore, two cars, 14 mobile phones and Rs 35,000 from their possession. 

Of the 11 arrested, four are from Gandahati area in Gajapati district in Odisha, while seven others are from Andhra and Tamil Nadu, sources in police said.

"While 11 members of the gang have been arrested, four others are still at large. Efforts are on to nab them. More than 10 cases are pending against them at various police stations in the State," Srikakulam SP informed. 

The red sandalwood logs were being smuggled to Chennai from Gajapati district via Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, sources informed.

Meanwhile, questions are being raised about how the Gajapati police or forest department had no clue about the large-scale red sandalwood smuggling.

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