Thirty four persons were arrested and four and and a half tonnes of sandalwood, worth Rs two crore, was recovered from their possession near Salem on Tuesday, a senior police official said.
The sandalwood was seized within hours after it was stolen from an estate in Yercaud early Tuesday morning during a vehicle check, Alexander Mohan, DIG, Salem said.
A van, one lorry and a tempo, in which the sandalwood was being transported, besides two cell phones and a double barrel gun, were also seized from them, he said.
District Forest Officer Paulraj said the men came to the estate at about 4.00 am, brandished the gun and locked the 10 security personnel of the estate in a room. They then loaded the sandalwood in the vehicles and escaped, he said.
The seized sandalwood has now been kept at a government godown at Athampatti near here, he added.