A combing party comprising forest and armed reserve personnel caught five red sander smugglers after an exchange of fire with them in interior Guvvalacheruvu in Rayachoti forest range in Kadapa district on Sunday.

Forty forest personnel and 35 armed reserve personnel, equipped with sophisticated weapons, spotted a group of over 40 red sander smugglers, who opened fire at the combing party. The latter returned the fire resulting in the arrest of five smugglers belonging to Tamil Nadu, Kadapa DFO B.N.N. Murthy told The Hindu on Sunday. The five men were being interrogated and shoot-at-sight orders had been given against the smugglers, he said.

The area has been cordoned off and intensive combing operations were on to apprehend all the smugglers, he added.

A large number of red sander smugglers from Tamil Nadu ventured into the Guvvalacheruvu, Saraswathipalle, Palakonda and Yanumamulacheruvu forest areas in Rayachoti constituency, for the first time, Mr. Murthy stated.