The state-run newspaper Lao Dong reported police in the central province of Thanh Hoa stopped a car Thursday for driving in the wrong lane. The police found sixteen elephant tusks weighing 94 kilograms hidden in the boot and under the chassis.

Police arrested the driver on suspicion of smuggling, and seized the car and the tusks as evidence.

The owner of the car reportedly said the elephant tusks belonged to him, and that he was on his way to Hanoi to sell them.

Elephant tusks are popular in Vietnam as decorative elements or for carving statues.

A report issued by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2008 found ivory prices ranged between 770 and 1,200 dollars per kilogram on the Vietnamese black market.

In recent months, customs officials have made several large seizures of smuggled African elephant tusks at Vietnamese ports. The tusks were believed to be on their way to China.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - August 21, 2009