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Police: 'Queen of Ivory' smuggled 706 elephant tusks

By Amy R. Connolly
Police: 'Queen of Ivory' smuggled 706 elephant tusks
Yang Feng Glan, dubbed the "Queen of Ivory," was arrested in Tanzania on suspicion of smuggling 706 elephant tusks worth an estimated $2.5 million. Photo by jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A 66-year-old Chinese woman who has been dubbed the "Queen of Ivory" was arrested in Tanzania on suspicion of smuggling 706 elephant tusks worth an estimated $2.5 million.

Yang Feng Glan, an infamous smuggler with a network of operatives from Tanzania to China, is perhaps the most prolific ivory trafficker arrested in East Africa in a decade. Some of her suspected suppliers were also arrested.

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"Across Africa, they keep arresting small fish here and there," said Andrea Costa, a spokesman for the Elephant Action League, a nonprofit group that fights crime against wildlife. "They have finally caught a big fish."

Officials said Yang used her ties between Tanzania and China to move ivory around the world. She moved to Africa in the 1970s as one of her country's first trained Swahili speakers. She later founded a company called Beijing Great Wall Investment and an eatery called Beijing Restaurant in Tanzania. Investigators said the restaurant was used as part of Yang's smuggling business.

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