Five persons, including a Chinese and a Taiwanese national, who were involved in smuggling of sandalwood from Andhra Pradesh were arrested on Tuesday.
The men had planned to smuggle over a tonne of sandalwood to China, police said.
Lin Hung-Ping (44) from Taiwan and Chinese national Chen Chao-min (44) were arrested on information that two foreign nationals and three men were packing some material at a house in Nesapakkam.
A team from the MGR Nagar police station searched the house and found three plastic sacks filled with sandalwood worth over Rs. 4.5 lakh.
A probe revealed that Hung-pin, who is seafood exporter in the city for the last six years, had struck a deal with friend Chao-min, a artefact seller in China who arrived a few months ago, to help obtain and smuggle sandalwood to Beijing for making decorative items, the officer added.
The two foreign nationals along with their three aides - Suresh (31) of K.K. Nagar, Ganesh Kandan (28) of Salem and T.P. Ganesh (37) from Andhra Pradesh - were arrested and remanded to judicial custody on Tuesday evening. The seized sandalwood was handed over to the Forest department and further probe is underway on the smuggling, sources added.