The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Customs Enforcement Intelligence Officers on Saturday evening intercepted and offloaded two Vietnamese nationals from Qatar airways as the duo attempted to flee Uganda to evade prosecution.
Mr Nguyen Van Thanh and Mr Dinh Van Chung have been part of an 18-man wanted mafia racket suspected to be behind ivory smuggling in the region.
URA recently shared photographs of the suspects saying all the 18 Vietnamese were on the run and were wanted in connection to an ongoing case of smuggling and possession of prohibited goods (ivory and pangolin Scales) concealed in Timber Contrary to sections 200 and 202 of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004 (As mended).
URA identified the suspects as Din Van Chung, Thai Xuan Phuong, Dinh Van Quan alias Tony, Vo Quoc Trinh, Do Trong Ha alias Hoang Ha, Thai Xuan Tuan alias UNK, Vu Van Huan alias Jimmy and Tran Van Cao alias UNK.
Others are; Le Viet Quyen alias UNK, Trinh Trung Dung alias UNK, Ha Chan Chinh, Nguyen Van Linh, Le Dinh Quan, Nguyen Van Thanh, Nguyen Van Pha, Pham Trong Phuc, Hoang Van Hau and Nguyen Van Viet.
According to a statement released by URA on Sunday, the Authority’s Customs Enforcement has been on the hunt for these suspects since their three colleagues were arrested and prosecuted in court.
“These two were arrested trying to flee the country to escape prosecution. URA Customs is now on the hunt for the 16 suspects still at large,” read part of the URA statement.
It should be recalled that URA Customs seized the largest ever consignment of ivory and pangolin scales worth over 14 billion in February 2019 and the suspects were charged and remanded to Luzira Prison.
This mafia racket is said to have been operating in Uganda for the last three years and had a house in Bugolobi and warehouse in Kyebando.
Two other houses in Kololo with links to this racket were raided and two women arrested believed to be involved in prostitution activities.